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UVA Researchers Demonstrate High Precision of Automated Volumetric Breast Density

Volpara Health – Published on July 20, 2015

With Lower Variability than Area-Based Methods, Volumetric Density Well Suited for Inclusion in Breast Cancer Risk Models, According to Study Featured in RADIOLOGY

LAS VEGAS, July 20, 2015 – Researchers at the University of Virginia (UVA) Health System have demonstrated that automated volumetric breast density measurement tools are more precise than area-based methods. Results of the study, “Reliability of Automated Breast Density Measurements,” recently featured in Radiology (DOI:, suggest that with lower variability, volumetric breast density is well suited for inclusion in breast cancer risk models. The announcement was made here at AHRA’s 43rd Annual Meeting and Exposition, July 19-22.

“Breast density is increasingly being considered with other known risk factors to improve risk prediction in order to give women personalized knowledge to make decisions about screening. However, variability in assigned density category may result in changes in recommendations for adjuvant screening. Thus, for consistency, objectivity, and ease of use, breast density measurement ideally should be automated and accurate,” said Jennifer Harvey, MD, Professor of Radiology at the UVA School of Medicine. “The purpose of this study was to estimate the reliability of area-based methods and automated volumetric breast density measurements using repeated measures.”

Thirty women undergoing screening mammography consented to undergo a repeated left craniocaudal examination performed by a second technologist in this prospective study. Breast density was measured by using both area-based and volumetric methods. Discrepancy between the first and second breast density measurements was obtained for each algorithm by subtracting the second measurement from the first and then analyzed with a random-effects model to derive limits of measurement agreement.

Results of the study demonstrate that variability in a repeated measurement of breast density is highest for area-based measurement tools, standard deviation 3.32% (2.65-4.44). In contrast, precision was highest for automated volumetric breast density tools, such as VolparaDensity, standard deviation 0.99% (0.79-1.33). “The excellent reproducibility of automated breast density measurements indicates that they would be well suited for inclusion in a breast cancer risk model. This is consistent with results we presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December that showed that the addition of volumetric breast density improved breast cancer risk discrimination,” Dr Harvey added.

About UVA Cancer Center
As one of 68 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers, the UVA Cancer Center is a leading center for cancer research, prevention, detection and treatment. The UVA Cancer Center delivers advanced patient care combined with the latest research-based treatment options to improve the quality of life for cancer patients in and surrounding Virginia. With state-of-the-art clinics in multiple locations around Virginia and telemedicine programs for rural communities, UVA Cancer Center is one of the most widely-accessible cancer centers in the region.

About Volpara Solutions
Founded with the goal of helping radiologists give women the most accurate information possible regarding their breast health, Volpara Solutions is the wholly owned sales and marketing arm of Matakina Technology Limited of New Zealand. Cleared by the FDA, HealthCanada, the TGA, and CE-marked, VolparaDensity provides an objective volumetric measure of breast density from digital mammography images. VolparaDensity is part of a suite of quantitative breast imaging tools built on the Volpara Solutions algorithm that allows for personalized measurements of density, patient-specific x-ray dose, breast compression and other factors designed to provide critical insight for breast imaging workflow. For more information, visit