Mammographic Breast Density and Its Effects on Imaging

  • Vincenzo Lattanzio
  • Angela Maria Guerrieri


Mammographic breast density (MBD) is a term used to define the proportion of radiologically dense tissue in the breast.

MBD has been shown to be a strong predictor of mammography screening failure to detect breast cancer because it has a “masking effect” on underlying cancers and is an independent risk factor for breast cancer. Relative to the lowest classification of breast density (fatty tissue, <5%), women with the highest classification (extreme density, >75%) may have a four- to sixfold increased risk of breast cancer.

Over the years, many breast density measurement methods have been introduced, and the development of automated quantitative density assessment software is an active area of research.

MBD assessment has clinical utility for identifying women at increased risk of developing breast cancer and determining which women would benefit from supplemental screening. Supplemental screening of women with dense breasts using different imaging technologies detects additional breast cancers, most of which are invasive, but increases false-positives, with the exception of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT).


Breast density Mammographic density Quantitative assessment Qualitative assessment Tomosynthesis Supplemental screening Contrast-enhanced digital mammography (CEDM) 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincenzo Lattanzio
    • 1
  • Angela Maria Guerrieri
    • 1
  1. 1.Breast Imaging Center, “Senologia e Salute Srl- Centro di Diagnosi e Prevenzione”BariItaly

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