Interreader scoring variability in an observer study using dual-modality imaging for breast cancer detection in women with dense breasts

Karen Drukker*, Karla J. Horsch, Lorenzo L. Pesce, Maryellen L. Giger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives: To evaluate variability in the clinical assessment of breast images, we evaluated scoring behavior of radiologists in a retrospective reader study combining x-ray mammography (XRM) and three-dimensional automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) for breast cancer detection in women with dense breasts. Methods: The study involved 17 breast radiologists in a sequential study design with readers first interpreting XRM-alone followed by an interpretation of combined XRM + ABUS. Each interpretation included a forced Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System scale and a likelihood that the woman had breast cancer. The analysis included 164 asymptomatic patients, including 31 breast cancer patients, with dense breasts and a negative screening XRM. Of interest were interreader scoring variability for XRM-alone, XRM + ABUS, and the sequential effect. In addition, a simulated double reading by pairs of readers of XRM + ABUS was investigated. Performance analysis included receiver operating characteristic analysis, percentile analysis, and κ statistics. Bootstrapping was used to determine statistical significance. Results: The median change in area under the receiver operating characteristic curve after ABUS interpretation was 0.12 (range 0.04-0.19). Reader agreement was fair with the median interreader κ being 0.26 (0.05-0.48) for XRM-alone and 0.34 (0.11-0.55) forXRM + ABUS (95% confidence interval for the difference in κ, 0.06-0.11). Simulated double reading of XRM + ABUS demonstrated tradeoffs in sensitivity and specificity, but conservative simulated double reading resulted in a significant improvement in both sensitivity (16.7%) and specificity (7.6%) with respect to XRM-alone. Conclusion: A modest, but statistically significant, increase in interreader agreement was observed after interpretation of ABUS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)847-853
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • 3D ultrasound
  • Mammography
  • Observer study
  • Reader variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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