Rationale and objectives: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate a near-infrared (NIR) laser breast imaging system (Computed Tomography Laser Mammography [CTLM]) as an adjunct to mammography by means of receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. The NIR technique used in this study is based on the absorption of NIR light by hemoglobin. Malignant tumors can be detected by imaging their neovascularization.
Materials and methods: Eighty-two patients were examined by both CTLM and mammography. Seventy-nine of the 82 patients underwent biopsies, and three patients had 2-year follow up. Three-dimensional scans were acquired with an NIR laser computed tomographic scanner (the CTLM system) at a slice thickness of 4 mm. Mammograms were analyzed alone and together with CTLM images.
Results: Histology revealed 37 benign and 42 malignant lesions. For the combination of mammography and CTLM, the area under the ROC curve was significantly larger than for mammography alone. In addition, it was shown that the difference in area under the ROC curve between the combination of both methods and mammography alone was considerably larger for dense breasts than for radiolucent breasts, although these differences were not statistically significant.
Conclusion: CTLM, used as an adjunct, may serve as a feasible tool to improve the diagnostic capabilities of mammography.