Can digital breast tomosynthesis replace full-field digital mammography? a multireader, multicase study of wide-angle tomosynthesis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



American Journal of Roentgenology








Full-field digital mammography; Multireader multicase study; Vision sciences-perception; Wide-angle tomosynthesis


© American Roentgen Ray Society. OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis whether two-view wide-angle digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) can replace full-field digital mammography (FFDM) for breast cancer detection. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. In a multireader multicase study, bilateral two-view FFDM and bilateral two-view wide-angle DBT images were independently viewed for breast cancer detection in two reading sessions separated by more than 1 month. From a pool of 764 patients undergoing screening and diagnostic mammography, 330 patient-cases were selected. The endpoints were the mean ROC AUC for the reader per breast (breast level), ROC AUC per patient (subject level), noncancer recall rates, sensitivity, and specificity. RESULTS. Twenty-nine of 31 readers performed better with DBT than FFDM regardless of breast density. There was a statistically significant improvement in readers' mean diagnostic accuracy with DBT. The subject-level AUC increased from 0.765 (standard error [SE], 0.027) for FFDM to 0.835 (SE, 0.027) for DBT (p = 0.002). Breast-level AUC increased from 0.818 (SE, 0.019) for FFDM to 0.861 (SE, 0.019) for DBT (p = 0.011). The noncancer recall rate per patient was reduced by 19% with DBT (p < 0.001). Masses and architectural distortions were detected more with DBT (p < 0.001); calcifications trended lower (p = 0.136). Accuracy for detection of invasive cancers was significantly greater with DBT (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION. Reader performance in breast cancer detection is significantly higher with wide-angle two-view DBT independent of FFDM, verifying the robustness of DBT as a sole view. However, results of perception studies in the vision sciences support the inclusion of an overview image.

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