New mammography technology improves cancer detection

Nov 28, 2007

A new radiological diagnostic tool called stereo mammography allows clinicians to detect more lesions and could significantly reduce the number of women who are recalled for additional tests following routine screening mammography.

The findings from a clinical trial underway at Emory University were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America held in Chicago.

In the study, stereoscopic digital mammography reduced false-positive findings by 49 percent compared to standard digital mammography, and reduced missed lesions by 40 percent, according to Dr. Carl D’Orsi, MD, professor of radiology, Emory University School of Medicine, and director of breast imaging.

“This finding is very significant because it shows the technology cuts by almost half the number of women who are recalled for additional tests, reduces the number of false positives that typically occur in standard mammograms and eliminates significant anxiety in patients and their loved ones,” says Dr. D’Orsi.

“Standard mammography is widely considered to be one of the most difficult exams to read because lesions may be disguised by normal tissue," says Dr. D'Orsi. "At the same time, false-positives can also occur because of the two dimensional images provided by the existing technology.”

Stereo mammography consists of two digital x-ray images of the breast acquired from two different points of view separated by about eight degrees. When the images are viewed on a stereo display workstation, the radiologist is able to see the internal structure of the breast in three dimensions.

In the study, researchers use a full-field digital mammography unit modified to take stereo pairs of images. A stereo display workstation allows the mammographer to fuse the stereo image pair, while viewing the breast in depth.

As of July 2007, 1,093 patients at elevated risk for developing breast cancer were enrolled in the clinical trial. Each patient received a full-field, standard digital mammography screening examination and a full-field, stereoscopic digital exam. The exams were read independently by different radiologists. A total of 259 suspicious findings were detected by the combined mammography procedures and were referred for additional diagnostic testing, including biopsy when indicated. Of those, 109 were determined to be true lesions. Standard mammography missed 40 of the 109 lesions while the stereoscopic exam failed to detect 24, a 40 percent decrease in missed lesions.

According to the researchers, increasing the use of stereo mammography at many institutions across the country would require simple upgrades to existing digital mammography equipment and software. The stereo digital exam currently takes the same amount of time to read as a standard mammogram, and researchers are working toward making radiation exposure in stereo scans comparable.

Source: Emory University

Explore further: Survival differences seen for advanced-stage laryngeal cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US northeast braces for flooding after record snow

9 minutes ago

Weather forecasters and emergency officials warned Sunday that melting snow would lead to heavy flooding in parts of the US northeast, with hundreds of thousands of people told to brace for fast-rising waters.

How the hummingbird achieves its aerobatic feats

7 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The sight of a tiny hummingbird hovering in front of a flower and then darting to another with lightning speed amazes and delights. But it also leaves watchers with a persistent question: How ...

'Mind the gap' between atomically thin materials

8 hours ago

In subway stations around London, the warning to "Mind the Gap" helps commuters keep from stepping into empty space as they leave the train. When it comes to engineering single-layer atomic structures, minding ...

Recommended for you

Survival differences seen for advanced-stage laryngeal cancer

21 hours ago

The five-year survival rate for advanced-stage laryngeal cancer was higher than national levels in a small study at a single academic center performing a high rate of surgical therapy, including a total laryngectomy (removal ...

Gene test aids cancer profile

Nov 27, 2014

The first round of chemotherapy did little to suppress Ron Bose's leukemia. The second round, with 10 times the dose, knocked the proliferating blast cells down, but only by half.

User comments : 0

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.