Heterogeneity of Focal Breast Lesions and Surrounding Tissue Assessed by Mammographic Texture Analysis: Preliminary Evidence of an Association with Tumor Invasion and Estrogen Receptor Status
Mammography is a widely used screening tool for the early detection of breast cancer. One of the commonly missed signs of breast cancer is architectural distortion. The purpose of this study is to explore the application of fractal analysis and texture measures for the detection of architectural distortion in screening mammograms taken prior to the detection of breast cancer. A method based on Gabor filters and phase portrait analysis was used to detect initial candidates for sites of architectural distortion. A total of 386 regions of interest (ROIs) were automatically obtained from 14 “prior mammograms”, including 21 ROIs related to architectural distortion. From the corresponding set of 14 “detection mammograms”, 398 ROIs were obtained, including 18 related to breast cancer. For each ROI, the fractal dimension and Haralick’s texture features were computed. The fractal dimension of the ROIs was calculated using the circular average power spectrum technique. The average fractal dimension of the normal (false-positive) ROIs was significantly higher than that of the ROIs with architectural distortion (p = 0.006). For the “prior mammograms”, the best receiver operating characteristics (ROC) performance achieved, in terms of the area under the ROC curve, was 0.80 with a Bayesian classifier using four features including fractal dimension, entropy, sum entropy, and inverse difference moment. Analysis of the performance of the methods with free-response receiver operating characteristics indicated a sensitivity of 0.79 at 8.4 false positives per image in the detection of sites of architectural distortion in the “prior mammograms”. Fractal dimension offers a promising way to detect the presence of architectural distortion in prior mammograms.