AI Boosts Breast Cancer Detection in Mammography Screening: Study, Sweden

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AI Boosts Breast Cancer Detection in Mammography Screening: Study

A recent study conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet has revealed that artificial intelligence (AI) can significantly improve the detection of breast cancer in screening mammography. The study, known as the ScreenTrustCAD study, found that one radiologist supported by AI detected more cases of breast cancer than two radiologists working together.

For more than three decades, screening mammography has played a crucial role in reducing breast cancer mortality rates. However, challenges such as the lack of radiologists and the fact that not all cancers are detected have hindered its effectiveness. Retrospective studies have shown that AI could potentially address these issues.

According to Karin Dembrower, the lead author of the study, AI and humans perceive images slightly differently, which creates a synergy that improves our chances of detecting cancer.

Traditionally, two radiologists analyze every screening mammogram. However, in this study, the exams were assessed by both two radiologists and AI to determine which women should be recalled for further investigation. The researchers compared the accuracy of different combinations of AI and radiologists with the traditional two-radiologist approach based on the ultimate breast cancer diagnosis.

The study was conducted at Capio St Göran’s Hospital in Stockholm and involved screening over 55,500 women between the ages of 40 and 74. The results showed that the addition of AI to the two-radiologist approach detected the most cases of cancer, with a total of 269. However, it was also found that one radiologist supported by AI detected 261 cases, which was statistically non-inferior to the two-radiologist approach. AI alone detected 246 cases of breast cancer.

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Dr. Fredrik Strand, the principal investigator of the study, stated, Compared with the current two-radiologist standard, assessment by one radiologist and AI resulted in a four percent increase in breast cancer detection and halved the radiologists’ image reading time.

In addition to improving cancer detection rates, the study also revealed a reduction in false positives, which refer to the recall rate for healthy women. Compared to the two-radiologist approach, one radiologist supported by AI and AI alone led to a six percent and 55 percent reduction in false positives, respectively. This reduction in false positives can help minimize unnecessary suffering and costs for patients.

Dr. Strand emphasized that AI should be viewed as a complement to radiologists rather than a substitute. He stated, Even if AI takes over much of the initial examination, a radiologist is needed to make the judgment before any patient is recalled for further investigation, and, if necessary, to take biopsies from suspicious breast areas.

The findings of the study suggest that AI is ready to be implemented in breast cancer screening. Capio St Göran’s Hospital has already started using an AI-supported radiologist since June 2023, which has freed up time for radiologists to focus on breast cancer patients. However, it is crucial to choose an AI system that has been thoroughly tested on images from the same type of mammography equipment and to ensure continuous monitoring after clinical implementation.

In conclusion, AI has shown significant potential in improving breast cancer detection rates and reducing false positives in mammography screening. By combining the unique perceptual abilities of humans and AI, the chances of detecting cancer can be greatly enhanced. While AI has the potential to take over most screening mammography assessments in the future, it should be seen as a valuable tool that complements the expertise of radiologists. With further research and implementation, AI can revolutionize breast cancer screening and save more lives.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is the ScreenTrustCAD study?

The ScreenTrustCAD study is a research conducted by Karolinska Institutet to explore the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in improving breast cancer detection in mammography screening.

How does AI improve breast cancer detection in mammography screening?

AI enhances breast cancer detection by perceiving images differently from humans, creating a synergy that increases the chances of identifying cancer. When used alongside radiologists, AI can help determine which women should be recalled for further investigation.

How many women were included in the study?

The study involved screening over 55,500 women between the ages of 40 and 74 at Capio St Göran's Hospital in Stockholm.

What were the results of the study?

The traditional two-radiologist approach detected 250 cases of breast cancer. However, when AI was incorporated, the number of detected cases increased to 269. Interestingly, when one radiologist was supported by AI, 261 cases were detected. AI alone detected 246 cases, which was statistically comparable to the performance of two radiologists.

Did the use of AI reduce false positives?

Yes, the use of AI led to a significant reduction in false positives. When using one radiologist and AI, there was a six percent decrease in false positives, and when using AI alone, there was a 55 percent decrease, compared to the traditional two-radiologist approach.

How did the addition of AI impact reading time for radiologists?

The addition of AI reduced the radiologists' image reading time by half, allowing them to focus more on patients with breast cancer.

What are the implications of this study?

The study suggests that AI is ready for controlled implementation in screening mammography. It has the potential to improve the accuracy and efficiency of breast cancer detection, potentially taking over a significant portion of screening mammography assessments in the long term.

Who funded the study?

The ScreenTrustCAD study was funded by the Swedish Research Council, Region Stockholm, the Swedish Cancer Society, and software developer Lunit Inc.

Has Capio St Göran's Hospital integrated AI into their screening mammography process?

Yes, since June 2023, Capio St Göran's Hospital has been utilizing an AI-supported radiologist to assess screening mammograms, allowing radiologists to allocate more time to patients with breast cancer.

Where were the findings of the study published?

The findings of the study were published in The Lancet Digital Health.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

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