TU-CD-207-01: Characterization of Breast Tissue Composition Using Spectral Mammography




To investigate the feasibility of characterizing the chemical composition of breast tissue, in terms of water and lipid, by using spectral mammography in simulation and postmortem studies.


Analytical simulations were performed to obtain low- and high-energy signals of breast tissue based on previously reported water, lipid, and protein contents. Dual-energy decomposition was used to characterize the simulated breast tissue into water and lipid basis materials and the measured water density was compared to the known value. In experimental studies, postmortem breasts were imaged with a spectral mammography system based on a scanning multi-slit Si strip photon-counting detector. Low- and high-energy images were acquired simultaneously from a single exposure by sorting the recorded photons into the corresponding energy bins. Dual-energy material decomposition of the low- and high-energy images yielded individual pixel measurements of breast tissue composition in terms of water and lipid thicknesses. After imaging, each postmortem breast was chemically decomposed into water, lipid and protein. The water density calculated from chemical analysis was used as the reference gold standard. Correlation of the water density measurements between spectral mammography and chemical analysis was analyzed using linear regression.


Both simulation and postmortem studies showed good linear correlation between the decomposed water thickness using spectral mammography and chemical analysis. The slope of the linear fitting function in the simulation and postmortem studies were 1.15 and 1.21, respectively.


The results indicate that breast tissue composition, in terms of water and lipid, can be accurately measured using spectral mammography. Quantitative breast tissue composition can potentially be used to stratify patients according to their breast cancer risk.