Patient-specific finite element (FE) models of the breast have received increasing attention due to the potential capability of fusing images from different modalities. During the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to X-ray mammography registration procedure, the FE model is compressed mimicking the mammographic acquisition. Subsequently, suspicious lesions in the MRI volume can be projected into the 2D mammographic space. However, most registration algorithms do not provide the reverse information, avoiding to obtain the 3D geometrical information from the lesions localized in the mammograms. In this work we introduce a fast method to localize the 3D position of the lesion within the MRI, using both cranio-caudal (CC) and medio-lateral oblique (MLO) mammographic projections, indexing the tetrahedral elements of the biomechanical model by means of an uniform grid. For each marked lesion in the Full-Field Digital Mammogram (FFDM), the X-ray path from source to the marker is calculated. Barycentric coordinates are computed in the tetrahedrons traversed by the ray. The list of elements and coordinates allows to localize two curves within the MRI and the closest point between both curves is taken as the 3D position of the lesion. The registration errors obtained in the mammographic space are 9.89 ± 3.72 mm in CC- and 8.04 ± 4.68 mm in MLO-projection and the error in the 3D MRI space is equal to 10.29 ± 3.99 mm. Regarding the uniform grid, it is computed spending between 0.1 and 0.7 seconds. The average time spent to compute the 3D location of a lesion is about 8 ms.
Automated three-dimensional breast ultrasound (ABUS) is a valuable adjunct to x-ray mammography for breast cancer screening of women with dense breasts. High image quality is essential for proper diagnostics and computer-aided detection. We propose an automated image quality assessment system for ABUS images that detects artifacts at the time of acquisition. Therefore, we study three aspects that can corrupt ABUS images: the nipple position relative to the rest of the breast, the shadow caused by the nipple, and the shape of the breast contour on the image. Image processing and machine learning algorithms are combined to detect these artifacts based on 368 clinical ABUS images that have been rated manually by two experienced clinicians. At a specificity of 0.99, 55% of the images that were rated as low quality are detected by the proposed algorithms. The areas under the ROC curves of the single classifiers are 0.99 for the nipple position, 0.84 for the nipple shadow, and 0.89 for the breast contour shape. The proposed algorithms work fast and reliably, which makes them adequate for online evaluation of image quality during acquisition. The presented concept may be extended to further image modalities and quality aspects.
Automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) is a 3D imaging technique which is rapidly emerging as a safe and relatively inexpensive modality for screening of women with dense breasts. However, reading ABUS examinations is very time consuming task since radiologists need to manually identify suspicious findings in all the different ABUS volumes available for each patient. Image analysis techniques to automatically link findings across volumes are required to speed up clinical workflow and make ABUS screening more efficient. In this study, we propose an automated system to, given the location in the ABUS volume being inspected (source), find the corresponding location in a target volume. The target volume can be a different view of the same study or the same view from a prior examination. The algorithm was evaluated using 118 linkages between suspicious abnormalities annotated in a dataset of ABUS images of 27 patients participating in a high risk screening program. The distance between the predicted location and the center of the annotated lesion in the target volume was computed for evaluation. The mean ± stdev and median distance error achieved by the presented algorithm for linkages between volumes of the same study was 7.75±6.71 mm and 5.16 mm, respectively. The performance was 9.54±7.87 and 8.00 mm (mean ± stdev and median) for linkages between volumes from current and prior examinations. The proposed approach has the potential to minimize user interaction for finding correspondences among ABUS volumes.
Background parenchymal enhancement (BPE) observed in breast dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) has been identified as an important biomarker associated with risk for developing breast cancer. In this study, we present a fully automated framework for quantification of BPE. We initially segmented fibroglandular tissue (FGT) of the breasts using an improved version of an existing method. Subsequently, we computed BPEabs (volume of the enhancing tissue), BPErf (BPEabs divided by FGT volume) and BPErb (BPEabs divided by breast volume), using different relative enhancement threshold values between 1% and 100%. To evaluate and compare the previous and improved FGT segmentation methods, we used 20 breast DCE-MRI scans and we computed Dice similarity coefficient (DSC) values with respect to manual segmentations. For evaluation of the BPE quantification, we used a dataset of 95 breast DCE-MRI scans. Two radiologists, in individual reading sessions, visually analyzed the dataset and categorized each breast into minimal, mild, moderate and marked BPE. To measure the correlation between automated BPE values to the radiologists' assessments, we converted these values into ordinal categories and we used Spearman's rho as a measure of correlation. According to our results, the new segmentation method obtained an average DSC of 0.81 0.09, which was significantly higher (p<0.001) compared to the previous method (0.76 0.10). The highest correlation values between automated BPE categories and radiologists' assessments were obtained with the BPErf measurement (r=0.55, r=0.49, p<0.001 for both), while the correlation between the scores given by the two radiologists was 0.82 (p<0.001). The presented framework can be used to systematically investigate the correlation between BPE and risk in large screening cohorts.
In breast cancer screening for high-risk women, follow-up magnetic resonance images (MRI) are acquired with a time interval ranging from several months up to a few years. Prior MRI studies may provide additional clinical value when examining the current one and thus have the potential to increase sensitivity and specificity of screening. To build a spatial correlation between suspicious findings in both current and prior studies, a reliable alignment method between follow-up studies is desirable. However, long time interval, different scanners and imaging protocols, and varying breast compression can result in a large deformation, which challenges the registration process.
In this work, we present a fast and robust spatial alignment framework, which combines automated breast segmentation and current-prior registration techniques in a multi-level fashion. First, fully automatic breast segmentation is applied to extract the breast masks that are used to obtain an initial affine transform. Then, a non-rigid registration algorithm using normalized gradient fields as similarity measure together with curvature regularization is applied. A total of 29 subjects and 58 breast MR images were collected for performance assessment. To evaluate the global registration accuracy, the volume overlap and boundary surface distance metrics are calculated, resulting in an average Dice Similarity Coefficient (DSC) of 0.96 and root mean square distance (RMSD) of 1.64 mm. In addition, to measure local registration accuracy, for each subject a radiologist annotated 10 pairs of markers in the current and prior studies representing corresponding anatomical locations. The average distance error of marker pairs dropped from 67.37 mm to 10.86 mm after applying registration.
A precise segmentation of breast tissue is often required for computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) of breast MRI.
Only a few methods have been proposed to automatically segment breast in MRI. Authors reported satisfactory
performance, but a fair comparison has not been done yet as all breast segmentation methods were evaluated on
their own data sets with different manual annotations. Moreover, breast volume overlap measures, which were
commonly used for evaluations, do not seem to be adequate to accurately quantify the segmentation qualities.
Breast volume overlap measures are not sensitive to small errors, such as local misalignments, because the
breast appears to be much larger than other structures. In this work, two atlas-based approaches and a breast
segmentation method based on Hessian sheetness filter are exhaustively evaluated and benchmarked on a data
set of 52 manually annotated breast MR images. Three quantitative measures including dense tissue error,
pectoral muscle error and pectoral surface distance are defined to objectively reflect the practical use of breast
segmentation in CAD methods. The evaluation measures provide important evidence to conclude that the three
evaluated techniques perform accurate breast segmentations. More specifically, the atlas-based methods appear
to be more precise, but require larger computation time than the sheetness-based breast segmentation approach.