Effect of Dose on the Detection of Micro-Calcification Clusters for Planar and Tomosynthesis Imaging

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9699)


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of dose on the detection of micro-calcification clusters in breast images using planar mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT). Planar and DBT images were created from mathematical models of breasts with and without inserted clusters of 5 identical calcifications. Regions of interest from the images were used in a series of 4-alternative forced choice human observer experiments using the clusters as targets. Three calcification diameters were used for each imaging condition. The threshold diameter required for micro-calcification detection was determined for a detection rate of 92.5 % at mean glandular doses of 1.25, 2.5, and 5 mGy. The measured threshold micro-calcification diameter was lower for planar mammography than for the DBT modality. The threshold micro-calcification diameter decreased with increasing dose for planar and DBT imaging. The image modality used had a larger effect on the threshold diameter than the dose change considered.


DBT Micro-calcifications 4-alternative forced choice Mean glandular dose 



This work is part of the OPTIMAM2 project and is supported by Cancer Research UK (grant, number: C30682/A17321). We thank Jack Miskell and Isobel Dodson for participating in this study. We are also grateful to the staff of Real Time Tomography for their help in using their software in this experiment.


  1. 1.
    Elangovan, P., Rashidnasab, A., Mackenzie, A., Dance, D.R., Young, K.C., Bosmans, H., Segars, W.P., Wells, K.: Performance comparison of breast imaging modalities using a 4AFC human observer study. In: Proceedings of SPIE Medical Imaging, vol. 9412, p. 94121T–1–7 (2015)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Elangovan, P., Dance, D.R., Young, K.C., Wells, K.: Simulation of 3D synthetic breast blocks. In: Proceedings of SPIE Medical Imaging, vol. 9783, p. 978308–1–8 (2016)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Shaheen, E., Van Ongeval, C., Zanca, F., Cockmartin, L., Marshall, N., Jacobs, J., Young, K.C., Dance, D.R., Bosmans, H.: The simulation of 3D microcalcification clusters in 2D digital mammography and breast tomosynthesis. Med. Phys. 38, 6659 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Elangovan, P., Warren, L.M., Mackenzie, A., Rashidnasab, A., Diaz, O., Dance, D.R., Young, K.C., Bosmans, H., Strudley, C.J., Wells, K.: Development and validation of a modelling framework for simulating 2D-mammography and breast tomosynthesis images. Phys. Med. Biol. 59, 4275–4293 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Boone, J.M., Fewell, T.R., Jennings, R.J.: Molybdenum, rhodium, and tungsten anode spectral models using interpolating polynomials with application to mammography. Med. Phys. 24, 1863–1874 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dance, D.R., Skinner, C.L., Young, K.C., Beckett, J.R., Kotre, C.J.: Additional factors for the estimation of mean glandular breast dose using the UK mammography dosimetry protocol. Phys. Med. Biol. 45, 3225–3240 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Mackenzie, A., Dance, D.R., Workman, A., Yip, M., Wells, K., Young, K.C.: Conversion of mammographic images to appear with the noise and sharpness characteristics of a different detector and x-ray system. Med. Phys. 39, 2721–2734 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mackenzie, A., Dance, D.R., Diaz, O., Young, K.C.: Image simulation and a model of noise power spectra across a range of mammographic beam qualities. Med. Phys. 41, 121901 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kundel, H.L., Nodine, C.F., Toto, L.C., Lauver, S.C.: Circle cue enhances detection of simulated masses on mammogram backgrounds. Proc. SPIE Med. Imaging. 3036, 81–84 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Burgess, A.: Image quality, the ideal observer, and human performance of radiologic decision tasks. Acad. Radiol. 2, 522–526 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mackenzie, A., Marshall, N.W., Dance, D.R., Bosmans, H., Young, K.C.: Characterisation of a breast tomosynthesis unit to simulate images. In: Proceedings of SPIE Medical Imaging, vol. 8668, 86684R–1–8 (2013)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kotre, C.J.: The effect of background structure on the detection of low contrast objects in mammography. Br. J. Radiol. 71, 1162–1167 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Warren, L.M., Mackenzie, A., Cooke, J., Given-Wilson, R.M., Wallis, M.G., Chakraborty, D.P., Dance, D.R., Bosmans, H., Young, K.C.: Effect of image quality on calcification detection in digital mammography. Med. Phys. 39, 3202–3213 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Coordinating Centre for the Physics of MammographyRoyal Surrey County HospitalGuildfordUK
  2. 2.Centre for Vision, Speech, and Signal Processing, Medical Imaging GroupUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK
  3. 3.Medical Physics DepartmentGuy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  4. 4.Department of PhysicsUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

Personalised recommendations