Breast density (the percentage of fibroglandular tissue in the breast) has been suggested to be a useful surrogate marker for breast cancer risk. It is conventionally measured using screen-film mammographic images by a labor-intensive histogram segmentation method (HSM). We have adapted and modified the HSM for measuring breast density from raw digital mammograms acquired by full-field digital mammography. Multiple regression model analyses showed that many of the instrument parameters for acquiring the screening mammograms (e.g. breast compression thickness, radiological thickness, radiation dose, compression force, etc) and image pixel intensity statistics of the imaged breasts were strong predictors of the observed threshold values (model R2 = 0.93) and %-density (R2 = 0.84). The intra-class correlation coefficient of the %-density for duplicate images was estimated to be 0.80, using the regression model-derived threshold values, and 0.94 if estimated directly from the parameter estimates of the %-density prediction regression model. Therefore, with additional research, these mathematical models could be used to compute breast density objectively, automatically bypassing the HSM step, and could greatly facilitate breast cancer research studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging