Assessing breast tissue density by transillumination breast spectroscopy (TIBS): an intermediate indicator of cancer risk

Br J Radiol. 2007 Jul;80(955):545-56. doi: 10.1259/bjr/26858614. Epub 2007 May 30.


Risk assessment by parenchymal density pattern, a strong physical indicator of future breast cancer risk, is available with the onset of mammographic screening programmes. However, due to the use of ionizing radiation, mammography is not recommended for use in younger women, thereby rendering risk assessment unattainable at an earlier age. Visible and near infrared light was used on 292 women with radiologically normal mammograms to determine whether transillumination breast spectroscopy (TIBS) can identify women with a high parenchymal density pattern as an intermediate indicator of breast cancer risk. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to reduce the spectral data and generate density scores for each woman. To assess the accuracy of TIBS, logistic regression was used to calculate crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for each score. Receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves and area under the curve (AUC) were also calculated for the crude and adjusted logistic models. Optical information relating to tissue chromophores, such as water, lipid and haemoglobin content, was sufficient to identify women with high parenchymal density. The resulting AUC for the final and most parsimonious multivariate logistic model was 0.922 (95% CI 0.878-0.967). TIBS provides information correlating to high parenchymal density and is a promising tool for risk assessment, particularly for younger women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Breast
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared / methods
  • Transillumination / methods*