DBT-galactography: a promising tool for improving the diagnostic workup of nipple discharge

Eur Radiol Exp. 2020 Aug 4;4(1):40. doi: 10.1186/s41747-020-00170-5.


Background: Our aim was to compare the diagnostic performance of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT)-galactography with that of full-field digital (FFD)-galactography for detecting intraductal breast lesions using an intra-individual design.

Methods: Forty-nine consecutive patients with spontaneous, unilateral, single-pore nipple discharge and inconclusive FFD mammography and ultrasonography underwent galactography with a "COMBO" technique combining FFD- and DBT-galactography acquisitions. Examinations were independently analysed by two breast radiologists with 10-year experience. Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for both FFD- and DBT-galactography were calculated having histological examinations of surgical specimens as a reference standard. Data were presented as percentages with their 95% confidence intervals (CI). McNemar test was used. Interobserver agreement was assessed by using Cohen κ test for both techniques.

Results: Sensitivity was 41/43 (95%, 95% CI 84.2-99.4) for DBT-galactography and 33/43 (77%, 95% CI 61.4-88.2) for FFD-galactography (p = 0.008), specificity 6/6 (100%, 95% CI 54.1-100.0) for both imaging tools, accuracy 47/49 (96%, 95% CI 86.0-99.5) and 39/49 (80%, 95% CI 65.7-89.8) (p = 0.038), respectively. The inter-observer agreement was 0.86 for DBT-galactography and 0.78 for FFD-galactography. The AGD resulted to 1.94 ± 0.64 for the combined technique.

Conclusion: DBT-galactography showed a significantly higher sensitivity and accuracy than FFD-galactography for the identification of the intraductal findings, improving the possibility of a reliable diagnosis in patients with pathologic nipple-discharge.

Keywords: Breast; Digital breast tomosynthesis; Galactography; Mammography; Nipple discharge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nipple Discharge / diagnostic imaging*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary