Objective: The purpose of this study was to improve detectability of microcalcifications using a dual-energy digital mammographic (DEDM) technique.
Methods: Slabs of uniform breast-equivalent plastic and an additional plate were used to mimic various breast thicknesses, from 3 to 7 cm, and to simulate microcalcification with diameters from 0.16 to 0.39 mm. Free-response receiver operating characteristics and area under the curves (Az) were used to evaluate the sensitivity of detecting microcalcifications using the DEDM compared with using the conventional single-energy digital mammography (SEDM).
Results: The mean number of false-positives per image was 0.0198 (Az = 0.956 ± 0.027) using DEDM compared with 0.292 (Az = 0.681 ± 0.235) using SEDM. A lower radiation dose could be possibly obtained for the DEDM technique with a thickness of less than 5 cm compared with the SEDM with a thickness larger than 5 cm.
Conclusions: Microcalcifications could be more accurately and efficiently detected using the DEDM, which might bring reliable and promising applications on early computer-aided diagnosis of breast cancer.