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Artificial intelligence in mammography: breast cancer detection

What is a mammography?

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breasts.

As part of the screening, it is used to detect small cancers, well before they are palpable or symptoms appear.

It is carried out with a specific radiology device called a mammogram.

Artificial intelligence in mammography: breast cancer detection

One after the other, your breasts are placed between two plates that squeeze and compress the breast for a few seconds.

The doctor immediately interprets the images and then carries out a clinical examination.

The clinical examination involves palpating the breasts to detect certain anomalies that may not be detectable on mammography.

An interview with the doctor completes the examination.


Artificial intelligence goes further

Artificial intelligence (AI), thanks to the emergence of deep learning and convolutional neural networks, allows the development of cancer detection.

Also, it allows diagnostic assistance systems with performances far superior to those of previously available tools, which were not very specific.

The fields of application of AI go even further, combining the sorting of images to be read in priority by the radiologist for workload optimization.

That is including the automatic identification of technically insufficient images, the standardized assessment of breast density, and individual breast cancer risk.

Also, the AI offers the reduction of Tomosynthesis slice reading time.

Nevertheless, although multiple retrospective evaluations show very promising results, there is still a lack of prospective studies in real screening conditions.


Artificial intelligence in mammography  

Artificial intelligence. (AI) can improve radiologists' performance in reading breast cancer screening mammograms, according to a study published in Radiology: Artificial Intelligence.

Such software received US FDA validation in March 2020.

In breast cancer screening mammography, many malignant lesions go undetected and suspicious findings often turn out to be benign.

According to an earlier study in the journal Radiology.:

On average only 10% of women were recalled for further diagnostic workup based on suspicious findings that ultimately indicated cancer.


AI algorithm: better cancer detection

AI algorithms represent a promising solution for improving the accuracy of digital mammography.

Developers "train" the AI on existing images, teaching it to recognize abnormalities associated with cancer and to distinguish them from benign findings.

The artificial intelligence programs can then be tested on different sets of images.

AI not only offers the possibility of better cancer detection, but also improved efficiency for radiologists.

AI algorithm: better cancer detection

In a new study, researchers used MammoScreen, an AI tool that can be applied with mammography to aid cancer detection.

The new study was published in Radiology, under the title of Artificial Intelligence.

The system is designed to identify regions suspected of having breast cancer on 2D digital mammograms and assess their probability of malignancy.

Fourteen radiologists evaluated a dataset of .240. 2D digital mammography images acquired between 2013 and 2016 that included different types of abnormalities.


Increased sensitivity-shorter diagnostic time

The average cancer sensitivity increased slightly when using AI management.

AI also helped reduce the rate of false negatives, or results that appear normal even though cancer is present.

"The results show that MammoScreen can help improve radiologists' performance in detecting breast cancer," said Dr. Serena Pacilè.

Dr. Serena Pacilè is the head of clinical research at Therapixel, where the software was developed.

The improved diagnostic performance of radiologists in detecting breast cancer was achieved without extending their workflow.

In cases with a low probability of malignancy, the reading time was reduced in the second reading session.

This reduced reading time could increase radiologists' overall efficiency, allowing them to focus their attention on the most suspicious examinations, the researchers said.


MammoScreen validation by US FDA

In March 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration approved MammoScreen for use in the clinic, where it could help reduce radiologists' workload, according to Dr. Pacilè.

The researchers plan to explore the Artificial Intelligence tool's behavior in a large screening-based population and its ability to detect breast cancer earlier.


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