Reproducible automated breast density measure with no ionizing radiation using fat-water decomposition MRI.

Ding J, Stopeck AT, Gao Y, Marron MT, Wertheim BC, Altbach MI, Galons J-P, Roe DJ, Wang F, Maskarinec G, et al. 2018. Reproducible automated breast density measure with no ionizing radiation using fat-water decomposition MRI. J Magn Reson Imaging. 48:971–981. doi:10.1002/jmri.26041.

BACKGROUND: Increased breast density is a significant independent risk factor for breast cancer, and recent studies show that this risk is modifiable. Hence, breast density measures sensitive to small changes are desired.

PURPOSE: Utilizing fat-water decomposition MRI, we propose an automated, reproducible breast density measurement, which is nonionizing and directly comparable to mammographic density (MD).

STUDY TYPE: Retrospective study.

POPULATION: The study included two sample sets of breast cancer patients enrolled in a clinical trial, for concordance analysis with MD (40 patients) and reproducibility analysis (10 patients).

FIELD STRENGTH/SEQUENCE: The majority of MRI scans (59 scans) were performed with a 1.5T GE Signa scanner using radial IDEAL-GRASE sequence, while the remaining (seven scans) were performed with a 3T Siemens Skyra using 3D Cartesian 6-echo GRE sequence with a similar fat-water separation technique.

ASSESSMENT: After automated breast segmentation, breast density was calculated using FraGW, a new measure developed to reliably reflect the amount of fibroglandular tissue and total water content in the entire breast. Based on its concordance with MD, FraGW was calibrated to MR-based breast density (MRD) to be comparable to MD. A previous breast density measurement, Fra80-the ratio of breast voxels with <80% fat fraction-was also calculated for comparison with FraGW.

STATISTICAL TESTS: Pearson correlation was performed between MD (reference standard) and FraGW (and Fra80). Test-retest reproducibility of MRD was evaluated using the difference between test-retest measures (Δ ) and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).

RESULTS: Both FraGW and Fra80 were strongly correlated with MD (Pearson ρ: 0.96 vs. 0.90, both P < 0.0001). MRD converted from FraGW showed higher test-retest reproducibility (Δ variation: 1.1% ± 1.2%; ICC: 0.99) compared to MD itself (literature intrareader ICC <=0.96) and Fra80.

DATA CONCLUSION: The proposed MRD is directly comparable with MD and highly reproducible, which enables the early detection of small breast density changes and treatment response.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 3 Technical Efficacy: Stage 1 J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2018;48:971-981.