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Iran J Radiol. 2013 Sep;10(3):122-7. doi: 10.5812/iranjradiol.10708. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

Interobserver and Intraobserver Agreement of Sonographic BIRADS Lexicon in the Assessment of Breast Masses.

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Department of Radiology, Ankara Numune Education and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey.
Department of Radiology, Yozgat State Hospital, Yozgat, Turkey.
Department of Radiology, Artvin State Hospital, Artvin, Turkey.



BI-RADS was first developed in 1993 for mammography and in 2003 it was redesigned for ultrasonography (US). If the observer agreement is high, the method used in the classification of lesion would be reproducible.


The aim of this study is to evaluate the inter- and intraobserver agreement of sonographic BI-RADS lexicon in the categorization and feature characterization of nonpalpable breast lesions.


We included 223 patients with 245 nonpalpable breast lesions who underwent ultrasound-guided wire needle localization. Two radiologists retrospectively described each lesion using sonographic BI-RADS descriptors and final assessment. The observers were blinded to mammographic images, medical history and pathologic results. Inter- and intraobserver agreement was assessed using Kappa (κ) agreement coefficient.


The interobserver agreement for sonographic descriptors changed between fair and substantial. The highest agreement was detected for mass orientation (κ=0.66). The lowest agreement was found in the margin (κ=0.33). The interobserver agreement for BI-RADS final category was found as fair (κ=0.35). The intraobserver agreement for sonographic descriptors changed between substantial and almost perfect. The intraobserver agreement of BI-RADS result category was found as substantial for observer 1 (κ=0.64) and excellent for observer 2 (κ=0.83).


Our results demonstrated that each observer was self-consistent in interpreting US BI-RADS classification, while interobserver agreement was relatively poor. Although it has been ten years since the description of sonographic BI-RADS lexicon, further training and periodic performance evaluations would probably help to achieve better agreement among radiologists.


Breast; Mammography; Ultrasonography

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