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Phys Med Biol. 2011 Sep 21;56(18):5865-75. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/56/18/006. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

Spatial shrinkage/expansion patterns between breast density measured in two MRI scans evaluated by non-rigid registration.

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  • 1Tu & Yuen Center for Functional Onco-Imaging, Department of Radiological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA.


Breast MRI acquires many images from the breast, and computer-aided algorithms and display tools are often used to assist the radiologist's interpretation. Women with lifetime risk greater than 20% of developing breast cancer are recommended to receive annual screening MRI, but the current breast MRI computer-aided-diagnosis systems do not provide the necessary function for comparison of images acquired at different times. The purpose of this work was to develop registration methods for evaluating the spatial change pattern of fibroglandular tissue between two breast MRI scans of the same woman taken at different times. The registration method is based on rigid alignment followed by a non-rigid Demons algorithm. The method was tested on three different subjects who had different degrees of changes in the fibroglandular tissue, including two patients who showed different spatial shrinkage patterns after receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy before surgery, and one control case from a normal volunteer. Based on the transformation matrix, the collapse of multiple voxels on the baseline images to one voxel on the follow-up images is used to calculate the shrinkage factor. Conversely, based on the reverse transformation matrix the expansion factor can be calculated. The shrinkage/expansion factor, the deformation magnitude and direction, as well as the Jacobian determinate at each location can be displayed in a 3D rendering view to show the spatial changes between two MRI scans. These different parameters show consistent results and can be used for quantitative evaluation of the spatial change patterns. The presented registration method can be further developed into a clinical tool for evaluating therapy-induced changes and for early diagnosis of breast cancer in screening MRI.

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