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Breast. 2007 Dec;16(6):568-76.

Mammography: interobserver variability in breast density assessment.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Erasmus University Medical Center, P.O. Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Our objective was to determine the interobserver variability of breast density assessment according to the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) and to examine potential associations between breast density and risk factors for breast cancer. Four experienced breast radiologists received instructions regarding the use of BI-RADS and they assessed 57 mammograms into BI-RADS density categories of 1-4. The weighted kappa values for breast density between pairs of observers were 0.84 (A, B) (almost perfect agreement); 0.75 (A, C), 0.74 (A, D), 0.71 (B, C), 0.77 (B, D), 0.65 (C, D) (substantial agreement). The weighted overall kappa, measured by the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), was 0.77 (95% CI: 0.69-0.85). Body mass index was inversely associated with high breast density. In conclusion, overall interobserver agreement in mammographic interpretation of breast density is substantial and therefore, the BI-RADS classification for breast density is useful for standardization in a multicentre study.

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