Comparison of Contrast-Enhanced Mammography With Conventional Digital Mammography in Breast Cancer Screening: A Pilot Study

J Am Coll Radiol. 2019 Oct;16(10):1456-1463. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2019.04.007. Epub 2019 May 16.


Purpose: To perform a pilot evaluation of contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) for screening to determine whether it can improve accuracy and reader confidence in diagnosis.

Methods and materials: This institutional review board-approved reader study was comprised of 64 de-identified CEM cases acquired from December 1, 2014, to June 7, 2016, including 48 negative, 5 biopsy-proven benign, and 11 biopsy-proven malignancies. Negative cases were followed for at least 2 years without evidence of cancer. Ten breast imagers of varying experience first rated the low-energy (LE) mammogram and then the CEM examination using BI-RADS categories and a 5-point Likert scale for confidence in diagnosis.

Results: There were 635 out a total possible 640 complete reader interpretations included in this analysis. The remaining five incomplete interpretations were excluded. Median sensitivity and specificity improved with the addition of CEM (sensitivity: 0.86 [95% confidence interval {CI}: 0.74-0.95] versus 1 [95% CI: 0.83-1.00], specificity: 0.85 [95% CI: 0.64-0.94] versus 0.88 [95% CI: 0.80-0.92]). Individual receiver operating characteristic curves showed significant improvement with CEM (mean area under the curve increase = 0.056 [95% CI: 0.015-0.097], P = .002). The addition of CEM significantly improved average confidence in 5 of 10 readers when compared with LE (P < .0001) and improved pooled confidence across all tissue density categories, except the almost entirely fatty category. There was a trend toward improved confidence with increasing tissue density with CEM. Degree of background parenchymal enhancement did not affect readers' level of improvement in confidence when interpreting CEM.

Summary: CEM improved reader performance and confidence compared with viewing only LE, suggesting a role for CEM in breast cancer screening for which larger trials are warranted.

Keywords: CEM; CESM; Contrast enhanced mammography; breast cancer screening.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage*
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iohexol / administration & dosage*
  • Mammography / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Contrast Media
  • Iohexol