$2.5M NIH grant aims to create new breast cancer screening models

A $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute will be given to the University of Oklahoma (OU) and Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City to go toward the development of new short-term breast cancer risk prediction models.

The models aim to help increase cancer detection of breast MRI, according to OU.

The models will apply two approaches. The first will be a rule-in approach for identifying women who are excluded from current breast MRI screening guidelines but have an elevated risk of developing mammographically-occult cancers.

A rule-out approach will also be developed for women with an elevated lifetime risk of cancer but no imminent risk.

Researchers will develop the prediction models by analyzing imaging features related to bilateral asymmetry of mammographic tissue density and/or MRI tissue enhancement signals of the left and right breasts of the same women, which the researchers note is highly correlated to the biological process of cancer development

"The goal is to significantly increase cancer detection of breast MRI screenings by combining these two new risk assessment approaches," said Bin Zheng, PhD, affiliate of the Stephenson Cancer Center on the OU Health Sciences Center campus, in a statement.