Digital reading of breast density improves the diagnosis of cancer in dense breasts

Digital reading of breast density improves the diagnosis of cancer in dense breasts

In a breast of low breast density, mammography is a correct technique to assess the size of a breast tumour. Traditionally, the assessment of the tumour is carried out by the radiologist from a visual examination of the mammogram. However, in breasts of a high density, mammography is not a completely effective technique to appreciate possible tumour alterations, so, for a proper evaluation, a breast ultrasound and an MRI of the breast should be performed.

A retrospective study carried out by the Committee of Gynaecology Oncology and Mastology (CGOM) of the Dexeus Mujer and led by Dr. Màxim Izquierdo, conducted on a sample of 212 cancer patients of 55.7 ± 9.9 years on average, demonstrates that the visual assessment made by the radiologist overestimates breast density vs. automatic density reading performed by new-generation digital mammogram devices, which offer a more correct assessment and a more accurate diagnosis.

Breast density is not related to the prognostic factors of cancer, which make it possible to predict the possible evolution of a breast tumour. These include oestrogen and progesterone receptors - which determine whether tumour development is related to hormonal factors and, therefore, an anti-hormonal treatment - HER2, which is a cell growth receptor, can be applied; Ki67, which indicates whether a tumour is more or less aggressive, and p53, which refers to the appearance of the breast tissue, and determines the histological classification of the tumour. However, the results of this study may contribute to refine the diagnosis and early detection of breast cancer in women who have a high breast density (especially young and premenopausal women under 45 years).

The study has received the Best Poster Award at the 15th Meet the Professor Advance Intercourse Breast Cancer awarded by the University of Padua (Italy).

Mammographic breast density: visual and automated measurement, its role in tumor size and prognostic factors

M.Izquierdo; J.Browne S. Garcia; F.Tresserra; M.Garcia; S.Baulies; C.Ara; M.A.Pascual; R.Fabregas
The Breast, Volume 44, Supplement 1, March 2019, Page S88.