Breast elastography: diagnostic performance of computer-aided diagnosis software and interobserver agreement
Abstract Objective: To determine the best cutoff value for classifying breast masses by ultrasound elastography, using dedicated software for strain elastography, and to determine the level of interobserver agreement. Materials and Methods: We enrolled 83 patients with 83 breast masses identified on ultrasound and referred for biopsy. After B-mode ultrasound examination, the lesions were manually segmented by three radiologists with varying degrees of experience in breast imaging, designated reader 1 (R1, with 15 years), reader 2 (R2, with 2 years), and reader 3 (R3, with 8 years). Elastography was performed automatically on the best image with computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) software. Cutoff values of 70%, 75%, 80%, and 90% of hard areas were applied for determining the performance of the CAD software. The best cutoff value for the most experienced radiologists was then compared with the visual assessment. Interobserver agreement for the best cutoff value was determined, as were the interclass correlation coefficient and concordance among the radiologists for the areas segmented. Results: The best cutoff value of the proportion of hard area within a breast mass, for experienced radiologists, was found to be 75%. At a cutoff value of 75%, the interobserver agreement was excellent between R1 and R2, as well as between R1 and R3, and good between R2 and R3. The interclass concordance coefficient among the three radiologists was 0.950. When assessing the segmented areas by size, we found that the level of agreement was higher among the more experienced radiologists. Conclusion: The best cutoff value for a quantitative CAD system to classify breast masses was 75%.