Robustness of radiomic features of benign breast lesions and hormone receptor positive/HER2-negative cancers across DCE-MR magnet strengths

Magn Reson Imaging. 2021 Oct:82:111-121. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2021.06.021. Epub 2021 Jun 24.


Radiomic features extracted from breast lesion images have shown potential in diagnosis and prognosis of breast cancer. As medical centers transition from 1.5 T to 3.0 T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, it is beneficial to identify potentially robust radiomic features across field strengths because images acquired at different field strengths could be used in machine learning models. Dynamic contrast-enhanced MR images of benign breast lesions and hormone receptor positive/HER2-negative (HR+/HER2-) breast cancers were acquired retrospectively, yielding 612 unique cases: 150 and 99 benign lesions imaged at 1.5 T and 3.0 T, and 223 and 140 HR+/HER2- cancerous lesions imaged at 1.5 T and 3.0 T, respectively. In addition, an independent set of seven lesions imaged at both field strengths, three benign lesions and four HR+/HER2- cancers, was analyzed separately. Lesions were automatically segmented using a 4D fuzzy c-means method; thirty-eight radiomic features were extracted. Feature value distributions were compared by cancer status and imaging field strength using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. Features that did not demonstrate a statistically significant difference were considered to be potentially robust. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), for the task of classifying lesions as benign or HR+/HER2- cancer, was determined for each feature at each field strength. Three features were found to be both potentially robust across field strength and of high classification performance, i.e., AUCs statistically greater than 0.5 in the classification task: one shape feature (irregularity), one texture feature (sum average) and one enhancement variance kinetics features (enhancement variance increasing rate). In the demonstration set of lesions imaged at both field strengths, two of the three potentially robust features showed qualitative agreement across field strength. These findings may contribute to the development of computer-aided diagnosis models that are robust across field strength for this classification task.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Computer-aided diagnosis; DCE-MRI; Field strength; HR+/HER2-; Radiomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Hormones
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnets*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Contrast Media
  • Hormones