With its high sensitivity, dynamic contrast-enhanced MR imaging (DCE-MRI) of the breast is today one of the first-line
tools for early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer, particularly in the dense breast of young women. However, many
relevant findings are very small or occult on targeted ultrasound images or mammography, so that MRI guided biopsy is
the only option for a precise histological work-up . State-of-the-art software tools for computer-aided diagnosis of
breast cancer in DCE-MRI data offer also means for image-based planning of biopsy interventions. One step in the MRI
guided biopsy workflow is the alignment of the patient position with the preoperative MR images. In these images, the
location and orientation of the coil localization unit can be inferred from a number of fiducial markers, which for this
purpose have to be manually or semi-automatically detected by the user.
In this study, we propose a method for precise, full-automatic localization of fiducial markers, on which basis a virtual
localization unit can be subsequently placed in the image volume for the purpose of determining the parameters for
needle navigation. The method is based on adaptive thresholding for separating breast tissue from background followed
by rigid registration of marker templates. In an evaluation of 25 clinical cases comprising 4 different commercial coil
array models and 3 different MR imaging protocols, the method yielded a sensitivity of 0.96 at a false positive rate of
0.44 markers per case. The mean distance deviation between detected fiducial centers and ground truth information that
was appointed from a radiologist was 0.94mm.