Machine learning-based prediction of future breast cancer using algorithmically measured background parenchymal enhancement on high-risk screening MRI Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background

    Preliminary work has demonstrated that background parenchymal enhancement (BPE) assessed by radiologists is predictive of future breast cancer in women undergoing high-risk screening MRI. Algorithmically assessed measures of BPE offer a more precise and reproducible means of measuring BPE than human readers and thus might improve the predictive performance of future cancer development.


    To determine if algorithmically extracted imaging features of BPE on screening breast MRI in high-risk women are associated with subsequent development of cancer.

    Study type

    Case-control study.


    In all, 133 women at high risk for developing breast cancer; 46 of these patients developed breast cancer subsequently over a follow-up period of 2 years.

    Field strength/sequence

    5 T or 3.0 T T1 -weighted precontrast fat-saturated and nonfat-saturated sequences and postcontrast nonfat-saturated sequences.


    Automatic features of BPE were extracted with a computer algorithm. Subjective BPE scores from five breast radiologists (blinded to clinical outcomes) were also available.

    Statistical tests

    Leave-one-out crossvalidation for a multivariate logistic regression model developed using the automatic features and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis were performed to calculate the area under the curve (AUC). Comparison of automatic features and subjective features was performed using a generalized regression model and the P-value was obtained. Odds ratios for automatic and subjective features were compared.


    The multivariate model discriminated patients who developed cancer from the patients who did not, with an AUC of 0.70 (95% confidence interval: 0.60-0.79, P < 0.001). The imaging features remained independently predictive of subsequent development of cancer (P < 0.003) when compared with the subjective BPE assessment of the readers.

    Data conclusion

    Automatically extracted BPE measurements may potentially be used to further stratify risk in patients undergoing high-risk screening MRI.

    Level of evidence

    3 Technical Efficacy: Stage 5 J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2019;50:456-464.


  • Saha, Ashirbani
  • Grimm, Lars J
  • Ghate, Sujata V
  • Kim, Connie E
  • Soo, Mary S
  • Yoon, Sora C
  • Mazurowski, Maciej A

publication date

  • 2019