Radiologist detection of microcalcifications with and without computer-aided detection: A comparative study

Rachel F. Brem, Joelle M. Schoonjans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Aim: To compare the sensitivity and specificity of microcalcification detection by radiologists alone and assisted by a computer-aided detection (CAD) system. Materials and Methods: Films of 106 patients were masked, randomized, digitized and analysed by the CAD-system. Five readers interpreted the original mammograms and were blinded to demographics, medical history and earlier films. Forty-two mammograms with malignant microcalcifications, 40 with benign microcalcifications; and 24 normal mammograms were included. Results were recorded on a standardized image interpretation form. The mammograms with suspicious areas flagged by the CAD-system were displayed on mini-monitors and immediately re-reviewed. The interpretation was again recorded on a new copy of the standard form and classified according to six groups. Results: Forty-one out of 42 (98%) malignant microcalcifications and 32 of 40 (80%) benign microcalcifications were flagged by the CAD-system. There was an average of 1.2 markers per image. The sensitivity for malignant microcalcifications detection by mammographers without and with the CAD-system ranged from 81% to 98% and from 88% to 98%, respectively. The mean difference without and with CAD-system was 2.2% (range 0-7%). Conclusion: No statistically significant changes in sensitivity were found when experienced mammographers were assisted by the CAD-system, with no significant compromise in specificity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-154
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Radiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • CAD
  • Mammogram
  • Microcalcification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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