Digital breast tomosynthesis guided near infrared spectroscopy: Volumetric estimates of fibroglandular fraction and breast density from tomosynthesis reconstructions

Srinivasan Vedantham, Linxi Shi, Kelly E. Michaelsen, Venkataramanan Krishnaswamy, Brian W. Pogue, Steven P. Poplack, Andrew Karellas, Keith D. Paulsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A multimodality system combining a clinical prototype digital breast tomosynthesis with its imaging geometry modified to facilitate near-infrared spectroscopic imaging has been developed. The accuracy of parameters recovered from near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is dependent on fibroglandular tissue content. Hence, in this study, volumetric estimates of fibroglandular tissue from tomosynthesis reconstructions were determined. A kernel-based fuzzy c-means algorithm was implemented to segment tomosynthesis reconstructed slices in order to estimate fibroglandular content and to provide anatomic priors for NIRS. This algorithm was used to determine volumetric breast density (VBD), defined as the ratio of fibroglandular tissue volume to the total breast volume, expressed as percentage, from 62 tomosynthesis reconstructions of 34 study participants. For a subset of study participants who subsequently underwent mammography, VBD from mammography matched for subject, breast laterality and mammographic view was quantified using commercial software and statistically analyzed to determine if it differed from tomosynthesis. Summary statistics of the VBD from all study participants were compared with prior independent studies. The fibroglandular volume from tomosynthesis and mammography were not statistically different (p = 0.211, paired t-test). After accounting for the compressed breast thickness, which were different between tomosynthesis and mammography, the VBD from tomosynthesis was correlated with (r = 0.809, p < 0.001), did not statistically differ from (p > 0.99, paired t-test), and was linearly related to, the VBD from mammography. Summary statistics of the VBD from tomosynthesis were not statistically different from prior studies using high-resolution dedicated breast computed tomography. The observation of correlation and linear association in VBD between mammography and tomosynthesis suggests that breast density associated risk measures determined for mammography are translatable to tomosynthesis. Accounting for compressed breast thickness is important when it differs between the two modalities. The fibroglandular volume from tomosynthesis reconstructions is similar to mammography indicating suitability for use during NIRS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045202
JournalBiomedical Physics and Engineering Express
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 27 2015


  • Breast
  • Breast density
  • Digital breast tomosynthesis
  • Mammography
  • Near-infrared
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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