The purpose of the study is to evaluate the performance of different image processing algorithms in terms of
representation of microcalcification clusters in digital mammograms.
Clusters were simulated in clinical raw ("for processing") images. The entire dataset of images consisted of 200 normal
mammograms, selected out of our clinical routine cases and acquired with a Siemens Novation DR system. In 100 of the
normal images a total of 142 clusters were simulated; the remaining 100 normal mammograms served as true negative
input cases. Both abnormal and normal images were processed with 5 commercially available processing algorithms:
Siemens OpView1 and Siemens OpView2, Agfa Musica1, Sectra Mamea AB Sigmoid and IMS Raffaello Mammo 1.2.
Five observers were asked to locate and score the cluster(s) in each image, by means of dedicated software tool.
Observer performance was assessed using the JAFROC Figure of Merit. FROC curves, fitted using the IDCA method,
have also been calculated.
JAFROC analysis revealed significant differences among the image processing algorithms in the detection of
microcalcifications clusters (p=0.0000369). Calculated average Figures of Merit are: 0.758 for Siemens OpView2, 0.747
for IMS Processing 1.2, 0.736 for Agfa Musica1 processing, 0.706 for Sectra Mamea AB Sigmoid processing and 0.703
for Siemens OpView1.
This study is a first step towards a quantitative assessment of image processing in terms of cluster detection in clinical
mammograms. Although we showed a significant difference among the image processing algorithms, this method does
not on its own allow for a global performance ranking of the investigated algorithms.