CAD System Makes Breast MRI More Effective, Efficient

A computer-aided detection (CAD) system is helping radiologists to more quickly and accurately determine the sizes and locations of cancers found on breast MRI—information that could change patients’ treatment, a new study shows.


The study, undertaken at Clinica Girona in Girona, Spain, compared the CAD system to breast imaging software that comes standard with MRI machines, said Joan C. Vilanova, MD, director of the department of magnetic resonance and lead author of the study. Thirty-six patients with known breast cancer underwent an MRI examination using the standard software and the CAD system.

The CAD system in conjunction with the MRI examination allowed the radiologist to more accurately determine the size of the cancer lesions, Dr. Vilanova said; the size correlated more closely to what was seen under the microscope, he added. “The quality of the final (postprocessed) CAD system images was better than the standard software images in 83% of the cases,” said Dr. Vilanova. In addition, it took radiologists an average 12 minutes to analyze and interpret the CAD system images compared to 19 minutes for the standard MRI software images. A breast MRI study generates more than 1,000 images per examination, according to Dr. Vilanova.

Both systems detected additional lesions in 10 patients; eight of those patients were scheduled to undergo a lumpectomy before the MRI examination was done; their treatment was changed to a mastectomy. “Cancerous lesions would have been left within the breast if breast MRI had not been performed,” Dr. Vilanova said.

“The CAD system has allowed us and our clinicians to have more confidence in our ability to evaluate breast MRI,” Dr. Vilanova said. “In fact, the number of breast MRI examinations has increased by 50% in the last nine months,” he added.

Dr. Vilanova will present his study at the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting on May 19 in New Orleans, LA.

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