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Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) recently announced its collaboration with the University of California, Irvine, to explore how spectral breast imaging can improve breast density measurement, potentially aiding clinicians in more accurately gauging breast cancer risks and monitoring changes over time. The study will rely on Philips’ MicroDose SI mammography spectral imaging technology. Designed to address the industry’s growing concern about the lower diagnostic accuracy of mammography for high density breasts, MicroDose SI joins Philips’ suite of diagnostic imaging solutions designed to enhance imaging quality for confident diagnostics at a low dose.
Studies have shown that high breast density increases the risk of developing breast cancer. In fact, women with dense tissue in 75 percent or more of the breast have a risk of breast cancer four to six times as great as the risk among women with little or no dense tissue. Higher breast density may also make breast cancer more difficult to detect by mammography. The ability to more accurately measure breast density will enable radiologists to personalize breast cancer screenings and potentially be used for treatment monitoring.
With MicroDose SI, Philips introduced its first spectral imaging application with a new feature called Spectral Breast Density Measurement. Rather than estimating density, the tool uses photon counting technology to simultaneously acquire spectral data of the adipose and fibroglandular tissue within a single exposure of a low dose mammogram. This provides an objective volumetric breast density measurement, paving the way for refined risk assessment and personalized care.
“Through this study, UC Irvine and Philips are looking to set an industry standard for objectively measuring breast density. While this doesn’t exist today, it will be increasingly critical as we move toward further personalizing breast cancer screening, and enabling patients to become more engaged in their own care,” said Gene Saragnese, CEO Imaging, Philips. “With the combination of our MicroDose SI technology and leading imaging experts at UC Irvine, we can determine if spectral breast imaging can help provide more definitive diagnoses, at low radiation dose, to better help patients and clinicians in the fight against breast cancer.”
The first phase of the study will focus on assessing the accuracy of the spectral breast density application by analyzing 40 post-mortem breasts and comparing results with chemical analysis. The study is expected to be completed over a one- to two-year-long period.
“One of the biggest challenges for us has been the lack of quantitative standards, which makes it very difficult to prove the accuracy of breast density measurements,” said Sabee Molloi, Ph.D., professor of radiological sciences at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine and the study’s lead researcher. “Leveraging Philips’ spectral imaging technology, this study will help us validate breast density measurements and set industry standards, which can help enhance the quality of diagnoses and treatment.”