Computer-aided image analysis aims to offer 'second opinion' in breast tumor diagnosis

November 4, 2013
The quantitative image analysis workstation in the Giger laboratory for assessing breast lesions observed in MRIs, showing automated lesion segmentation, feature extraction (volumetrics, morphology, texture, kinetics), and estimation of the probability of malignancy. Credit: University of Chicago

Researchers at the University of Chicago are developing computer-aided diagnosis (CADx) and quantitative image analysis (QIA) methods for mammograms, ultrasounds and magnetic resonance images (MRIs) to identify specific tumor characteristics, including size, shape and sharpness, said lead researcher Maryellen Giger, A.N. Pritzker Professor of Radiology/Medical Physics and director of the Imaging Research Institute at the University of Chicago.

Currently, computer-aided detection provides a "second opinion" to a radiologist in locating suspicious regions within mammograms. Next, radiologists will ultimately be able to use computer-extracted lesion characteristics when performing a diagnosis to assess whether the tumor is cancerous.

The role of quantitative is expanding beyond screening and toward application of risk assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, and response to therapy, and in using data to identify how apply to disease states, Giger said.

This could lead to the comparison of a tumor's characteristics with thousands of similar cases, enabling the exploration of complex relationships among tumor characteristics across large populations, which may ultimately contribute to the design of patient-specific treatments. It could also be used to study the association between a tumor's observable characteristics and cell-level data for the emerging field of imaging and genomics, which aims to identify genes that influence the risk for disease.

While results are promising for digital , researchers are extending their analysis to breast ultrasounds and MRIs due to the need for clinical validation within a larger screening population.

Through studies between image-based characteristics and genomics, investigators will potentially be able to determine which tumor characteristics are related to and which complement genetic findings, with the ultimate goal of merging them to include both genetic and environmental contributions in clinical decisions. Researchers are now using data-mining methods to identify those potential relationships.

A paper titled "Quantitative breast image analysis for personalized medicine" describing the work by Giger was published 14 October in the SPIE Newsroom.

Explore further: Women in their 40s have lower mammographic tumor detectability

Related Stories

Breast cancer detection improved with image processing

November 9, 2010

Siemens researchers in Portugal hope to detect breast cancer more reliably in the future using a new statistical detection method. The digital image processing technique reveals tiny calcium deposits in the breast, which ...

Recommended for you

Understanding nature's patterns with plasmas

August 23, 2016

Patterns abound in nature, from zebra stripes and leopard spots to honeycombs and bands of clouds. Somehow, these patterns form and organize all by themselves. To better understand how, researchers have now created a new ...

Measuring tiny forces with light

August 25, 2016

Photons are bizarre: They have no mass, but they do have momentum. And that allows researchers to do counterintuitive things with photons, such as using light to push matter around.

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling

August 22, 2016

Where light and matter intersect, the world illuminates. Where light and matter interact so strongly that they become one, they illuminate a world of new physics, according to Rice University scientists.

Stretchy supercapacitors power wearable electronics

August 23, 2016

A future of soft robots that wash your dishes or smart T-shirts that power your cell phone may depend on the development of stretchy power sources. But traditional batteries are thick and rigid—not ideal properties for ...

Spherical tokamak as model for next steps in fusion energy

August 24, 2016

Among the top puzzles in the development of fusion energy is the best shape for the magnetic facility—or "bottle"—that will provide the next steps in the development of fusion reactors. Leading candidates include spherical ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.