Research Finds Use of Volpara Objective Breast Density Software from Matakina Helps Overcome the Limitations of Mammography for Women with Dense Breasts

Six Abstracts Presented at ECR Demonstrate Benefit of Objective Breast Density Measurement

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“Breast density is one of the few modifiable breast cancer risk factors and we are encouraged that these results show strong potential for Volpara to accurately track changes in breast density over time,” said Dr. Ralph Highnam.

VIENNA, Austria (PRWEB) March 04, 2013

Objective breast density measurement and its impact on breast imaging are among the key abstracts being presented here at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) meeting, March 7-11, 2013. According to Matakina International, six abstracts highlight the use of Volpara objective breast density measurement software to help overcome the limitations of mammography for women with dense breasts.

Volpara was also recently selected for use in the European Union (EU) collaborative Adapting Breast Cancer Screening Strategy Using Personalised Risk Estimation (ASSURE) research project. Matakina will showcase its role in the ASSURE project as well as the use of Volpara in a number of large clinical trials and national breast cancer screening programs across Europe. (ECR 2013 Booth: Expo E 560).

In her Educational Exhibit (C-1033), titled “This is what volumetric breast density is”         Dr. Gisella Gennaro illustrates how volumetric breast density can be measured on digital mammograms and describes potential clinical applications. Showing quantitative breast density results for more than 500 women from Padua, Italy, Dr. Gennaro concludes that volumetric breast density has potential to become helpful in tailoring patient workups, in order to overcome limitations in mammography for highly dense breasts.

Cleared by the FDA, HealthCanada, the TGA and CE-marked, Volpara is in use at sites across the globe helping radiologists assess breast density more objectively and helping them better consider who might benefit from additional screening. Volpara is a reliable tool which generates objective, automatic measurement of volumetric breast density and a FDA cleared BI-RADS breast density category. Volpara supports most of the major digital mammography systems, can be displayed on digital mammography and PACS workstations and be integrated into mammography reporting systems.

Breast density has been known to increase the risk of breast cancer and recent studies suggest that abnormal changes in breast density over time could also be associated with increased risk. Temporal changes may also aid in evaluating the impact of age and menopause on the breast. However, reader variability and differences in the “For Presentation” mammographic images generated on different vendor x-ray machines, make it difficult to judge breast density change. In the presentation “Assessing breast density changes over time,” (C-1770), Dr. Ralph Highnam, CEO of Matakina International and a co-author, introduces a novel objective method for transforming sequential mammograms into temporal density movies to address some of these issues. Results demonstrate high levels of agreement between sequential images and the use of optimized density maps help standardize mammographic images from different manufacturers to facilitate better judgement of temporal changes. “Breast density is one of the few modifiable breast cancer risk factors and we are encouraged that these results show strong potential for Volpara to accurately track changes in breast density over time,” said Dr. Highnam.

In a similar line of research, Professor Nico Karssemeijer has been testing the temporal stability of Volpara in the exhibit, “Temporal stability of fully automatic volumetric breast density estimation in a large screening population” (C-1953). They ran Volpara over 42,414 temporal pairs of mammograms and looked to see how often Volpara declared the woman to have moved from being a fatty breast (BIRADS 1,2) to a dense breast (BIRADS 3,4). Researchers noted that in a recent study of human observers some 7.1% of the time such a biologically implausible shift was noted, whilst for Volpara it was only 4.1% indicating that Volpara is far more robust at judging temporal change.

Another study, “BI-RADS breast density classification – an international standard?” (C-1762) will review comparisons between volumetric and visual assessment around the world. According to Dr. Highnam, results of the study suggest that there might be systematic bias in people’s interpretations of BI-RADS. “For example, if you see very dense breasts all the time you probably judge BI-RADS breast density lower than if you see fatty breasts all the time. In addition, with US radiologists judging the same set significantly higher than European and Asian radiologists, there is a clear need for a more standardized approach to breast density assessments which will help in interpreting and comparing breast cancer risk studies that are carried out internationally.”

Professor Kwan Ng from University of Malaya is presenting on, “Are volumetric breast density measurements robust enough for routine clinical use?” (C-1787). Prof Ng builds on earlier work which looked at volumetric breast density implementations which used absolute physics and were too susceptible to errors in the physics data. Prof Ng has exhaustively tested Volpara and concludes the Volpara software is robust and ready for routine clinical use. Based on these results, Prof Ng is considering breast screening in Malaysia and his presentation at ECR will show that Chinese-Malay have a significantly higher volumetric breast density than either Malay-Malays and Indian-Malays, and thus might warrant different screening procedures.

For information regarding other research being presented regarding breast density at the ECR meeting, note that in Breast SS1702, there are a range of talks looking at the role of tomosynthesis by breast density including talks from Spain and Italy.

About Matakina
Founded to enable radiologists to give women the most accurate information possible regarding their breast health, Matakina International, Limited is the wholly owned sales and marketing arm of Matakina Technology Limited of New Zealand. Volpara’s founders and Board of Directors includes John Hood, PhD, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, UK; Ralph Highnam, PhD, former CEO of Mirada Solutions, one of the University of Oxford’s most successful spin-outs of recent times and co-author of the seminal book Mammographic Image Analysis; and Professor Sir Michael Brady, a serial entrepreneur who recently retired from the University of Oxford where he was Professor of Information Technology for 25 years.

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