Radiologist assessment of breast density by BI-RADS categories versus fully automated volumetric assessment

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2013 Sep;201(3):692-7. doi: 10.2214/AJR.12.10197.


Objective: The objective of our study was to estimate mammographic breast density using a fully automated volumetric breast density measurement method in comparison with BI-RADS breast density categories determined by radiologists.

Materials and methods: A total of 791 full-field digital mammography examinations with standard views were evaluated by three blinded radiologists as BI-RADS density categories 1-4. For fully automated volumetric analysis, volumetric breast density was calculated with fully automated software. The volume of fibroglandular tissue, the volume of the breast, and the volumetric percentage density were provided.

Results: The weighted overall kappa was 0.48 (moderate agreement) for the three radiologists' estimates of BI-RADS density. Pairwise comparisons of the radiologists' measurements of BI-RADS density revealed moderate to substantial agreement, with kappa values ranging from 0.51 to 0.64. There was a significant difference in mean volumetric breast density among the BI-RADS density categories, and the mean volumetric breast density increased as the BI-RADS density category increased (p<0.001). A significant positive correlation was found between BI-RADS categories and fully automated volumetric breast density (ρ=0.765, p<0.001).

Conclusion: Our study showed good correlation of the fully automated volumetric method with radiologist-assigned BI-RADS density categories. Mammographic density assessment with the fully automated volumetric method may be used to assign BI-RADS density categories.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography
  • Middle Aged
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated*
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Software