Volumetric and Area-Based Breast Density Measurement in a Large Clinical Study

Susan Astley, A Maidment (Editor), P Bakic (Editor), S Gavenonis (Editor)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    Mammographic density, defined as the percentage area of the breast in a mammogram that is comprised of fibroglandular tissue, is associated with risk of developing breast cancer. However, measures of mammographic density are subject to variation in the imaging process and in the assessments of observ-ers. Automatic volumetric measures of breast density remove much of this vari-ability, but their association with risk remains to be validated. We present den-sity measurements produced by area-based visual assessment via a visual ana-logue scale (VAS) and by volumetric assessment software (QuantraTM, Holog-ic Inc.) for digital mammograms of participants in a large-scale clinical study.VAS results were produced independently by two expert observers and av-eraged to give a final score. The distributions of average VAS scores (n = 22 327) and QuantraTM densities (n = 11 653) are shown by histograms and box plots. The average area-based density was 24.5% (SD 15.7%) and the average volumetric density was 17.0% (SD 6.0%). Inter-observer variability in visual area-based estimation is examined by a scatter plot matrix. It is inappropriate to directly compare area-based and volumetric measures of percentage breast density, since they are measuring different properties of the breast. Automatic volumetric assessment avoids the inter-observer variability shown in visual assessment, but work remains in establishing the association between volumetric measures and breast cancer risk.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationBreast Imaging: Lecture Notes in Computer Science 7361
    EditorsA Maidment, P Bakic, S Gavenonis
    Place of PublicationBerlin-Heidelberg
    PublisherSpringer Nature
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
    EventInternational Workshop on Breast Imaging - University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    Duration: 8 Jul 201211 Jul 2012


    ConferenceInternational Workshop on Breast Imaging
    CityUniversity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia


    • Breast density
    • area
    • volume
    • inter-observer
    • Quantra


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