Artificial Intelligence for Image-Based Breast Cancer Risk Prediction Using Attention

Stepan Romanov, Sacha Howell, Elaine Harkness, Megan Bydder, D Gareth Evans, Steven Squires, Martin Fergie, Sue Astley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accurate prediction of individual breast cancer risk paves the way for personalised prevention and early detection. The incorporation of genetic information and breast density has been shown to improve predictions for existing models, but detailed image-based features are yet to be included despite correlating with risk. Complex information can be extracted from mammograms using deep-learning algorithms, however, this is a challenging area of research, partly due to the lack of data within the field, and partly due to the computational burden. We propose an attention-based Multiple Instance Learning (MIL) model that can make accurate, short-term risk predictions from mammograms taken prior to the detection of cancer at full resolution. Current screen-detected cancers are mixed in with priors during model development to promote the detection of features associated with risk specifically and features associated with cancer formation, in addition to alleviating data scarcity issues. MAI-risk achieves an AUC of 0.747 [0.711, 0.783] in cancer-free screening mammograms of women who went on to develop a screen-detected or interval cancer between 5 and 55 months, outperforming both IBIS (AUC 0.594 [0.557, 0.633]) and VAS (AUC 0.649 [0.614, 0.683]) alone when accounting for established clinical risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2103-2115
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2023


  • Female
  • Humans
  • Breast Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Breast/diagnostic imaging
  • Mammography
  • Algorithms


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