Breast density estimation from high spectral and spatial resolution MRI

J Med Imaging (Bellingham). 2016 Oct;3(4):044507. doi: 10.1117/1.JMI.3.4.044507. Epub 2016 Dec 28.


A three-dimensional breast density estimation method is presented for high spectral and spatial resolution (HiSS) MR imaging. Twenty-two patients were recruited (under an Institutional Review Board--approved Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant protocol) for high-risk breast cancer screening. Each patient received standard-of-care clinical digital x-ray mammograms and MR scans, as well as HiSS scans. The algorithm for breast density estimation includes breast mask generating, breast skin removal, and breast percentage density calculation. The inter- and intra-user variabilities of the HiSS-based density estimation were determined using correlation analysis and limits of agreement. Correlation analysis was also performed between the HiSS-based density estimation and radiologists' breast imaging-reporting and data system (BI-RADS) density ratings. A correlation coefficient of 0.91 ([Formula: see text]) was obtained between left and right breast density estimations. An interclass correlation coefficient of 0.99 ([Formula: see text]) indicated high reliability for the inter-user variability of the HiSS-based breast density estimations. A moderate correlation coefficient of 0.55 ([Formula: see text]) was observed between HiSS-based breast density estimations and radiologists' BI-RADS. In summary, an objective density estimation method using HiSS spectral data from breast MRI was developed. The high reproducibility with low inter- and low intra-user variabilities shown in this preliminary study suggest that such a HiSS-based density metric may be potentially beneficial in programs requiring breast density such as in breast cancer risk assessment and monitoring effects of therapy.

Keywords: SENSE acceleration; breast cancer screening and diagnosis; breast density measurement; echo planar spectroscopic imaging; high spatial and spectral resolution MRI.