Multifocal and multicentric breast cancer (MFMC), i.e., the presence of two or more tumor foci within the same breast, has an immense clinical impact on treatment planning and survival outcomes. Detecting multiple breast tumors is challenging as MFMC breast cancer is relatively uncommon, and human observers do not know the number or locations of tumors a priori. Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), in which an x-ray beam sweeps over a limited angular range across the breast, has the potential to improve the detection of multiple tumors.1, 2 However, prior efforts to optimize DBT image quality only considered unifocal breast cancers (e.g.,3-9), so the recommended geometries may not necessarily yield images that are informative for the task of detecting MFMC. Hence, the goal of this study is to employ a 3D multi-lesion (ml) channelized-Hotelling observer (CHO) to identify optimal DBT acquisition geometries for MFMC. Digital breast phantoms and simulated DBT scanners of different geometries (e.g., wide or narrow arc scans, different number of projections in each scan) were used to generate image data for the simulation study. Multiple 3D synthetic lesions were inserted into different breast regions to simulate MF cases and MC cases. 3D partial least squares (PLS) channels, and 3D Laguerre-Gauss (LG) channels were estimated to capture discriminant information and correlations among signals in locally varying anatomical backgrounds, enabling the model observer to make both image-level and location-specific detection decisions. The 3D ml-CHO with PLS channels outperformed that with LG channels in this study. The simulated MC cases and MC cases were not equally difficult for the ml-CHO to detect across the different simulated DBT geometries considered in this analysis. Also, the results suggest that the optimal design of DBT may vary as the task of clinical interest changes, e.g., a geometry that is better for finding at least one lesion may be worse for counting the number of lesions.
Gezheng Wen, Subok Park, and Mia K. Markey, "Digital breast tomosynthesis for detecting multifocal and multicentric breast cancer: influence of acquisition geometry on model observer performance in breast phantom images," Proc. SPIE 10136, Medical Imaging 2017: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment, 101360V (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 13, 2017; Published: 10 March 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2254193.
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