Screen-detected versus interval cancers: Effect of imaging modality and breast density in the Flemish Breast Cancer Screening Programme
The objective of this study was a comparison of a full-field digital mammography (FFDM) system and a conventional screen-film mammography (SFM) system with respect to the detectability of simulated small masses and microcalcifications in the magnification mode. All images were obtained using 1.8 times magnification. The FFDM images were obtained at radiation dose levels of 1.39, 1.0, 0.7, 0.49 and 0.24 times that of the SFM images. A contrast-detail phantom was used to compare the detection of simulated lesions using a four alternative forced-choice reader study with three readers. The correct observation ratio (COR) was calculated as the fraction of correctly identified lesions to the total number of simulated lesions. Soft-copy reading was performed for all digital images. Direct magnification images acquired with the digital system showed a lower object contrast threshold than those acquired with the conventional system. For equal radiation dose, the digital system provided a significantly increased COR (0.95) compared with the screen-film system (0.82). For simulated microcalcifications, the corresponding difference was 0.90 to 0.72. The digital system allowed equal detection to screen-film at 40% of the radiation dose used for screen film. Digital magnification images are superior to screen-film magnification images for the detection of simulated small masses and microcalcifications even at a lower radiation dose.