DBT offers most accurate tumor measurements among breast imaging approaches

Digital breast tomosynthesis offers the most accurate tumor size measurements among breast imaging techniques, regardless of tissue density, according to new research published Friday.

Radiologists from Turkey analyzed data from 71 patients with varying tumor sizes who underwent digital mammography and DBT, and had synthetic mammo images generated from the latter. The results, shared in Clinical Imaging, put three-dimensional mammography, or DBT, on top, yielding results closest to histological analysis, the current gold standard.

Synthetic mammography protocols are newer, and designed to replace the digital iteration due to radiation concerns with the latter. The authors say this is the first study they know of to investigate SM’s accuracy measuring tumors, and likely foreshadows its upcoming role alongside DBT, they said.

This evidence suggests that DBT and SM protocol[s] will be utilized for mammography examinations more frequently in [the] coming years,” Halit NahitŞendur, and colleagues at Gazi University Faculty of Medicine’s radiology department said. “The findings of the current study not only provide a comparison between mammographic imaging techniques, but also allow understanding [of] the role of SM in tumor size measurements.”

For their retrospective analysis, the group commissioned a radiologist with eight years of breast imaging experience to measure tumor sizes independently in three separate sessions using each of the three approaches.

The superiority of DBT falls in line with results from other studies, the authors noted. They added that the small number of patients, and utilizing only one vendor’s modality, may have limited their results.

NahitŞendur and colleagues also pointed out that in the U.S., 30% of newly diagnosed cancers will be breast cancers. And given that tumor size measurement is critical to determining treatment approaches, DBT is the way to go.

“DBT provides the most accurate tumor size measurements among mammographic imaging techniques and if mammography will be used in tumor size measurements, DBT should be preferred,” they concluded.