Improved mammographic interpretation of masses using computer-aided diagnosis

I. Leichter*, S. Fields, R. Nirel, P. Bamberger, B. Novak, R. Lederman, S. Buchbinder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of computerized image enhancement, to investigate criteria for discriminating benign from malignant mammographic findings by computer-aided diagnosis (CAD), and to test the role of quantitative analysis in improving the accuracy of interpretation of mass lesions. Forty sequential mammographically detected mass lesions referred for biopsy were digitized at high resolution for computerized evaluation. A prototype CAD system which included image enhancement algorithms was used for a better visualization of the lesions. Quantitative features which characterize the spiculation were automatically extracted by the CAD system for a user-defined region of interest (ROI). Reference ranges for malignant and benign cases were acquired from data generated by 214 known retrospective cases. The extracted parameters together with the reference ranges were presented to the radiologist for the analysis of 40 prospective cases. A pattern recognition scheme based on discriminant analysis was trained on the 214 retrospective cases, and applied to the prospective cases. Accuracy of interpretation with and without the CAD system, as well as the performance of the pattern recognition scheme, were analyzed using receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves. A significant difference (p < 0.005) was found between features extracted by the CAD system for benign and malignant cases. Specificity of the CAD-assisted diagnosis improved significantly (p < 0.02) from 14 % for the conventional assessment to 50 %, and the positive predictive value increased from 0.47 to 0.62 (p < 0.04). The area under the ROC curve (A(z)) in- creased significantly (p < 0.001) from 0.66 for the conventional assessment to 0.81 for the CAD-assisted analysis. The A(z) for the results of the pattern recognition scheme was higher (0.95). The results indicate that there is an improved accuracy of diagnosis with the use of the mammographic CAD system above that of the unassisted radiologist. Our findings suggest that objective quantitative features extracted from digitized mammographic findings may help in differentiating between benign and malignant masses, and can assist the radiologist in the interpretation of mass lesions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)377-383
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Computer-aided diagnosis
  • Digital mammography
  • ROC analysis


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