Multiplanar reconstructions of 3D automated breast ultrasound improve lesion differentiation by radiologists

J. Van Zelst, B. Platel, N. Karssemeijer and R. Mann

Academic Radiology 2015;22(12):1489-1496.

DOI Cited by ~19


To investigate the value of multiplanar reconstructions (MPRs) of automated three-dimensional (3D) breast ultrasound (ABUS) compared to transverse evaluation only, in differentiation of benign and malignant breast lesions.


Five breast radiologists evaluated ABUS scans of 96 female patients with biopsy-proven abnormalities (36 malignant and 60 benign). They classified the most suspicious lesion based on the breast imaging reporting and data system (BI-RADS) lexicon using the transverse scans only. A likelihood-of-malignancy (LOM) score (0-100) and a BI-RADS final assessment were assigned. Thereafter, the MPR was provided and readers scored the cases again. In addition, they rated the presence of spiculation and retraction in the coronal plane on a five-point scale called Spiculation and Retraction Severity Index (SRSI). Reader performance was analyzed with receiver-operating characteristics analysis.


The area under the curve increased from 0.82 to 0.87 (P = .01) after readers were shown the reconstructed planes. The SRSI scores are highly correlated (Spearman's r) with the final LOM scores (range, r = 0.808-0.872) and DLOM scores (range, r = 0.525-0.836). Readers downgraded 3%-18% of the biopsied benign lesions to BI-RADS 2 after MPR evaluation. Inter-reader agreement for SRSI was substantial (intraclass correlation coefficient, 0.617). Inter-reader agreement of the BI-RADS final assessment improved from 0.367 to 0.536 after MPRs were read.


Full 3D evaluation of ABUS using MPR improves differentiation of breast lesions in comparison to evaluating only transverse planes. Results suggest that the added value of MPR might be related to visualization of spiculation and retraction patterns in the coronal reconstructions.