Breast Cancer Detection Improved by CAD Technology

Edition: October 2001 - Vol 9 Number 10
Article#: 1067
Author: Repertoire

The early detection of breast cancer can be improved by almost 20 percent through the use of computer-aided detection (CAD) with screening mammography, according to a study published in the September issue of Radiology.


Titled ''Screening Mammography with Computer Aided Detection,'' the study was co-authored by Timothy W. Freer, M.D., director, and Michael J. Ulissey, M.D., both of the Women's Diagnostic & Breast Health Center, Plano, TX. During the study, 12,860 women underwent routine mammography screening and interpretation, followed by an immediate re-interpretation with the assistance of the ImageChecker® CAD system from R2 Technology, Los Altos, CA.


The prospective study showed that the use of CAD in screening mammography resulted in almost a 20 percent increase in the cancers detected. Of the 49 cancers detected, radiologists detected 41 lesions and initially overlooked eight lesions until prompted by the CAD system, increasing their breast cancer detection rate by 19.5 percent.


According to Freer, every mammogram was first read by a radiologist in the standard fashion. Only then was the CAD analysis conducted and reviewed.


The results also showed an improvement in the proportion of cancers detected at an early stage. All eight of the additional cancers detected were found to be stage 0 or I.


According to the American Cancer Society, if breast cancer is identified early, or in Stage 0 or I, when it is confined to the ducts or local area of the breast, the patient's chances for survival are dramatically higher.


In 2001, approximately 34 million screening mammograms and 3.3 million diagnostic mammograms will be performed in the United States. Screening mammograms are conducted on asymptomatic women, while diagnostic mammograms are performed on women with symptoms that may be indicative of breast cancer.


R2's ImageChecker system was originally approved by the FDA in 1998 for use with screening mammography to assist radiologists in minimizing false negative readings and in 2001 the FDA expanded approval to diagnostic mammograms.