New image processing technique for evaluating breast microcalcifications: a comparative study.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to evaluate a new commercial image processing technique (MicroPure; Toshiba America Medical Systems, Tustin, CA) for identifying breast microcalcifications compared to gray scale ultrasound imaging (US) using mammography as the reference standard.
Twenty women, with breast calcifications identified mammographically, underwent gray scale US and MicroPure examinations of the breast. Still images and digital clips of the target area were acquired using gray scale US and MicroPure (at 3 different sensitivity levels: 0, 1, and 2). The images were analyzed by 4 independent and blinded readers (2 radiologists and 2 physicists) to determine the number of calcifications as well as to score image quality and artifacts.
For all 4 readers, there were significantly more calcifications seen with MicroPure (at the 2 highest sensitivity levels) compared to gray scale US (P < .009). Agreement between readers consistently increased from gray scale US to MicroPure imaging (gray scale intraclass correlation coefficient, 0.02-0.44; versus MicroPure intraclass correlation coefficient, 0.34-0.71). The agreement improved between mammography and MicroPure (13.2%-28.3%) when compared with mammography and gray scale US (1.7%-5.2%); the 2 radiologists saw a bigger improvement. Two readers preferred the MicroPure image quality over gray scale US (P < .001) and vice versa for the other 2 readers(P < .001). All 4 readers saw fewer artifacts with MicroPure (at level 2) than with gray scale US (P < .02).
MicroPure imaging identified significantly more breast microcalcifications than gray scale US.