Stationary DBT improves reader accuracy compared to mammography

Stationary digital breast tomosynthesis (sDBT), which allows views to be collected without  moving the x-ray tube, leads to improved reader accuracy compared to mammography, according to new findings published in Academic Radiology.

“In 2016, about one-third of all screening evaluations included DBT, at which time a standard mammogram was also obtained in most cases,” wrote Yueh Z. Lee, MD, PhD, of the department of radiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues. “However, since combined imaging doubles the radiation dose and increases cost, work continues to improve DBT, with a goal of eliminating the need to collect a standard mammogram at the same time.”

For the team’s research, 43 patients with an average age of 56.7 who had a suspicious finding discovered by digital mammography and were awaiting a biopsy were also imaged by sDBT. A team of four breast imaging radiologists read both the sDBT and mammography results of the patient.

Overall, the sDBT had a “considerably higher” area under the receiver operating characteristic curve than mammography for each of the four radiologists. Accuracy was better with sDBT than mammography for every breast density category. In addition, the readers preferred sDBT in most instances, but did prefer mammography when characterizing microcalcifications.

“This initial clinical experience with this prototype sDBT system is encouraging, as readers preferred sDBT over mammography when interpreting soft-tissue breast features and were more likely to identify malignancy correctly using images generated by sDBT,” the authors wrote. “These findings align with DBT performance in general and demonstrate the potential of sDBT as a viable clinical tool. However, reader preference for mammography when characterizing microcalcifications highlights the need for additional work to take full advantage of the unique benefits offered by the sDBT technology.”