Quantitative Analysis for Breast Density Estimation in Low Dose Chest CT Scans
A computational method was developed for the measurement of breast density using chest computed tomography (CT) images and the correlation between that and mammographic density. Sixty-nine asymptomatic Asian women (138 breasts) were studied. With the marked lung area and pectoralis muscle line in a template slice, demons algorithm was applied to the consecutive CT slices for automatically generating the defined breast area. The breast area was then analyzed using fuzzy c-mean clustering to separate fibroglandular tissue from fat tissues. The fibroglandular clusters obtained from all CT slices were summed then divided by the summation of the total breast area to calculate the percent density for CT. The results were compared with the density estimated from mammographic images. For CT breast density, the coefficient of variations of intraoperator and interoperator measurement were 3.00 % (0.59 %–8.52 %) and 3.09 % (0.20 %–6.98 %), respectively. Breast density measured from CT (22 ± 0.6 %) was lower than that of mammography (34 ± 1.9 %) with Pearson correlation coefficient of r = 0.88. The results suggested that breast density measured from chest CT images correlated well with that from mammography. Reproducible 3D information on breast density can be obtained with the proposed CT-based quantification methods.