Recent Submissions

  • Measuring reader fatigue in the interpretation of screening digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT)

    James, Jonathan (BIR Publications, 2023)
    OBJECTIVES: The interpretation of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) screening examinations is a complex task for an already overstretched workforce which has the potential to increase pressure on readers leading to fatigue and patient safety issues. Studies in non-medical and medical settings have suggested that changes in blink characteristics can reflect fatigue. The purpose of this study is to investigate the use of blink characteristics as an objective marker of fatigue in readers interpreting DBT breast screening examinations., METHODS: Twenty-six DBT readers involved in the UK PROSPECTS trial interpreted a test set of 40 DBT cases while being observed by an eye tracking device from November 2019 to February 2021. Raw data from the eye tracker were collected and automated processing software was used to produce eye blinking characteristics data which were analysed using multiple linear regression statistical models., RESULTS: Of the 26 DBT readers recruited, eye tracking data from 23 participants were analysed due to missing data rendering 3 participants' data uninterpretable. The mean reading time per DBT case was 2.81 min. There was a statistically significant increase in blinking duration of 0.38 ms/case as the reading session progressed (p < 0.0001). This was the result of a significant decrease in the number of ultra-short blinks lasting <=50 ms (p = 0.0005) and a significant increase in longer blinks lasting 51-100 ms (p = 0.008)., CONCLUSION: Changes in blinking characteristics could serve as objective measures of reader fatigue and may prove useful in the development of DBT reading protocols., ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: Blink characteristics can be used as an objective measure of fatigue; however there is limited evidence of their use in radiological settings. Our study suggests that changes in blink duration and frequency could be used to monitor fatigue in DBT reading sessions.
  • Performance of radiologists and radiographers in double reading mammograms: The UK national health service breast screening program

    James, Jonathan (RSNA, 2023)
    Background Double reading can be used in screening mammography, but it is labor intensive. There is limited evidence on whether trained radiographers (ie, technologists) may be used to provide double reading. Purpose To compare the performance of radiologists and radiographers double reading screening mammograms, considering reader experience level. Materials and Methods In this retrospective study, performance and experience data were obtained for radiologists and radiographer readers of all screening mammograms in England from April 2015 to March 2016. Cancer detection rate (CDR), recall rate (RR), and positive predictive value (PPV) of recall based on biopsy-proven findings were calculated for first readers. Performance metrics were analyzed according to reader professional group and years of reading experience using the analysis of variance test. P values less than .05 were considered to indicate statistically significant difference. Results During the study period, 401 readers (224 radiologists and 177 radiographers) double read 1 404 395 screening digital mammograms. There was no difference in CDR between radiologist and radiographer readers (mean, 7.84 vs 7.53 per 1000 examinations, respectively; P = .08) and no difference for readers with more than 10 years of experience compared with 5 years or fewer years of experience, regardless of professional group (mean, 7.75 vs 7.71 per 1000 examinations respectively, P = .87). No difference in the mean RR was observed between radiologists and radiographer readers (5.0% vs 5.2%, respectively, P = .63). A lower RR was seen for readers with more than 10 years of experience compared with 5 years or fewer, regardless of professional group (mean, 4.8% vs 5.8%, respectively; P = .001). No variation in PPV was observed between them (P = .42), with PPV values of 17.1% for radiologists versus 16.1% for radiographers. A higher PPV was seen for readers with more than 10 years of experience compared with 5 years or less, regardless of professional group (mean, 17.5% and 14.9%, respectively; P = .02). Conclusion No difference in performance was observed between radiographers and radiologists reading screening mammograms in a program that used double reading. Published under a CC BY 4.0 license Online supplemental material is available for this article. See also the editorial by Hooley and Durand in this issue.
  • Promoting simulation-based training in radiology: A homemade phantom for the practice of ultrasound-guided procedures

    Gianotti, Elisabetta; Closs, Samantha; Sun, Rachel; Bhatti, Hamnah; James, Jonathan; Clarke, Chris (BIR Publications, 2022)
    OBJECTIVE: Ultrasound-guided intervention is an essential skill for many radiologists and critical for accurate diagnosis and treatment in many radiology subspecialties. Simulation using phantoms have demonstrated statistically significant benefits for trainees within the literature. We propose a novel phantom model which the authors feel is ideal for training clinical radiology trainees in the performance of ultrasound-guided procedures., METHODS: The recipe to prepare a homemade phantom is described. Results of a local survey from trainees preparing and using the phantom are also presented., RESULTS: This realistic training simulation model can be adapted to suit a variety of biopsy devices and procedures including soft tissue biopsy and cyst aspiration. The phantom mimics the sonographic appearances of soft tissue and biopsy targets can be concealed within. The phantom was easily prepared by 22 trainees (Likert score 4.5) and it functioned well (Likert score of 4.7)., CONCLUSION: In summary, our phantom model is ideal for training clinical radiology trainees in the performance of ultrasound-guided core biopsy. The availability and low cost of the model, combined with the ease of preparation and reproducibility, make this an efficient and effective addition to the training process., ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: A low cost easily handmade phantom recipe is described that could be easily implemented in training schemes.
  • Contrast-enhanced spectral mammography (CESM)-guided breast biopsy as an alternative to MRI-guided biopsy

    James, Jonathan (BIR Publications, 2022)
    OBJECTIVE: Contrast-enhanced spectral mammography (CESM) breast biopsy has been recently introduced into clinical practice. This short communication describes the technique and potential as an alternative to MRI-guided biopsy., METHODS AND MATERIALS: An additional abnormality was detected on a breast MRI examination in a patient with lobular carcinoma. The lesion was occult on conventional mammography, tomosynthesis and ultrasound and required histological diagnosis. Traditionally, this would have necessitated an MRI-guided breast biopsy, but was performed under CESM guidance., RESULTS: A diagnostic CESM study was performed to ensure the lesion visibility with CESM and then targeted under CESM guidance. A limited diagnostic study, CESM scout and paired images for stereotactic targeting were obtained within a 10 min window following a single injection of iodinated contrast agent. The time from positioning in the biopsy device to releasing compression after biopsy and marker clip placement was 15 min. The biopsy confirmed the presence of multifocal breast cancer., CONCLUSION: CESM-guided breast biopsy is a new technique that can be successfully used as an alternative to MRI-guided breast biopsy., ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: CESM-guided biopsy can be used to sample breast lesions which remain occult on standard mammography and ultrasound.
  • Which lesions with a radiological or core biopsy diagnosis of fibroadenoma should be excised?

    Lee, Andrew H.S.; James, Jonathan; Whisker, Lisa; Rakha, Emad A.; Ellis, Ian O. (Royal College of Surgeons of England, 2022)
    INTRODUCTION: A recent Association of Breast Surgery summary statement on fibroadenoma management recommends excision only for cellular fibroepithelial lesions and rapidly growing lesions with a core biopsy diagnosis of fibroadenoma; persistent pain is a relative indication for excision., METHODS: This retrospective study looked at the impact this approach would have on the diagnosis of phyllodes tumours., RESULTS: From 2014 to 2018, there were 1,058 core biopsy diagnoses of fibroadenoma; 112 lesions were excised, of which 98 were fibroadenomas, 4 were hamartomas and 10 were phyllodes tumours. In this group, an excision diagnosis of phyllodes tumour was associated with size more than 40 mm, age more than 40 years and radiological suspicion of phyllodes tumour or carcinoma. One hundred and sixty-six excised fibroepithelial lesions with no previous core biopsy included eight phyllodes tumours; in this group, rapid growth was associated with phyllodes tumour diagnosis. Twelve of the 26 fibroepithelial lesions classified as B3 (cellular fibroepithelial lesion or phyllodes tumour) were diagnosed as phyllodes tumours on excision. Using a combination of radiological, clinical and pathological features it was possible to create an excision policy that would recommend excision of 22 of the 31 phyllodes tumours in this period. Eight of the nine 'missed' phyllodes tumours were benign., CONCLUSION: The Association of Breast Surgery summary statement will reduce the number of fibroadenomas excised, but may also result in delayed diagnosis of some phyllodes tumours. Appropriate safety netting advice should be provided to identify rapidly growing lesions.
  • The relationship between missed breast cancers on mammography in a test-set based assessment scheme and real-life performance in a national breast screening programme

    James, Jonathan (Elsevier Ltd., 2021)
    PURPOSE: This retrospective study determined whether a test-set based assessment scheme (PERFORMS) used in a national breast screening programme could be used to predict real-life performance by investigating if the number of cancers missed by mammography readers in real-life related to the number of cancers missed in the PERFORMS test-set and whether real-life reading volumes affected performance., METHOD: Data was obtained from consenting readers in the screening programme in England (NHSBSP) where double reading is standard. The rate of cancers missed by individual first readers but correctly identified by second readers was compared with the number of cancers missed in the PERFORMS test-set over a 3-year period. NHSBSP readers are required to interpret at least 1500 cases per year as a first reader, so results were compared between readers who exceeded this target and those that did not. Parametric and non-parametric correlations were calculated., RESULTS: Amongst the 536 readers, there was a highly significant positive correlation between the real-life and PERFORMS test-set missed cancer metrics (Pearson Correlation = 0.228, n = 536, p < .0001, Spearman's rho = 0.265, n = 536, p < .0001). There was no significant difference in rates of missed cancers between the 452 readers who exceeded the 1500 first read per year target and those who did not (t(94.2) = -1.87, p = .0643, r = 0.19)., CONCLUSIONS: The use of a test-set based assessment scheme accurately reflects real-life mammography reading performance, indicating that it can be a useful tool in identifying poor reader performance. Crown Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Effectiveness of percutaneous vacuum-assisted excision (VAE) of breast lesions of uncertain malignant potential (B3 lesions) as an alternative to open surgical biopsy

    Gianotti, Elisabetta; James, Jonathan; Sun, Rachel; Karuppiah, Amanjot; Lee, Andrew H.S. (Springer, 2021)
    OBJECTIVES: Traditionally B3 breast lesions are treated surgically, but overtreatment is a concern, as the majority have a final benign diagnosis. A national screening program introduced vacuum-assisted excision (VAE) for managing B3 lesions in late 2016. This retrospective study aimed to assess the outcomes associated with this approach., METHODS: All B3 lesions diagnosed between 01/2017 and 12/2019 were identified at two centres. Information was obtained on the initial biopsy and final histology, and method of VAE image guidance, needle size and number of cores. Lesions were excluded if there was cancer elsewhere in the breast at the time of diagnosis; the lesion was not suitable for VAE due to position in the breast or had B3 pathology for which open biopsy was still required. The final decision to offer VAE was always made at a multidisciplinary meeting (MDM). Risk difference was used to test the significance at p <= .05., RESULTS: In total, 258 B3 lesions were diagnosed, 105 (40.7%) met the inclusion criteria and underwent VAE. VAE was performed under X-ray (89/105) or ultrasound guidance (16/105), taking an average of 18.5 cores with the 10-G needle or 10.8 cores with the 7-G needle. Nine cases (8.6%) were upgraded to a malignant diagnosis following VAE. Malignancy was found in 15.5% (9/58) of B3 lesions with epithelial atypia, but in none without atypia (0/47) (p = .004). No new lesions or malignancy has occurred at the site of the VAE with an average mammographic follow-up of 2.2 years., CONCLUSION: Upgrade to malignancy following VAE was uncommon (8.6%) and associated with atypia in the initial biopsy. VAE is an alternative approach to the management of B3 lesions, reducing open surgical procedures., KEY POINTS: * Upgrade to malignancy after a vacuum-assisted excision of a B3 breast lesion is uncommon with an 8.6% upgrade rate. * The risk of a malignant diagnosis after a vacuum-assisted excision was significantly higher for B3 lesions with atypia compared to those without (+15.5% difference, p = .004). Copyright © 2021. European Society of Radiology.
  • Opportunities in cancer imaging: Risk-adapted breast imaging in screening

    James, Jonathan (Elsevier Ltd., 2021)
    In the UK, women between 50-70 years are invited for 3-yearly mammography screening irrespective of their likelihood of developing breast cancer. The only risk adaption is for women with >30% lifetime risk who are offered annual magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and mammography, and annual mammography for some moderate-risk women. Using questionnaires, breast density, and polygenic risk scores, it is possible to stratify the population into the lowest 20% risk, who will develop <4% of cancers and the top 4%, who will develop 18% of cancers. Mammography is a good screening test but has low sensitivity of 60% in the 9% of women with the highest category of breast density (BIRADS D) who have a 2.5- to fourfold breast cancer risk. There is evidence that adding ultrasound to the screening mammogram can increase the cancer detection rate and reduce advanced stage interval and next round cancers. Similarly, alternative tests such as contrast-enhanced mammography (CESM) or abbreviated MRI (ABB-MRI) are much more effective in detecting cancer in women with dense breasts. Scintimammography has been shown to be a viable alternative for dense breasts or for follow-up in those with a personal history of breast cancer and scarring as result of treatment. For supplemental screening to be worthwhile in these women, new technologies need to reduce the number of stage II cancers and be cost effective when tested in large scale trials. This article reviews the evidence for supplemental imaging and examines whether a risk-stratified approach is feasible. Copyright © 2021 The Royal College of Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Women's attitudes to the use of AI image readers: A case study from a national breast screening programme

    James, Jonathan (BMJ Publishing, 2021)
    BACKGROUND: Researchers and developers are evaluating the use of mammogram readers that use artificial intelligence (AI) in clinical settings., OBJECTIVES: This study examines the attitudes of women, both current and future users of breast screening, towards the use of AI in mammogram reading., METHODS: We used a cross-sectional, mixed methods study design with data from the survey responses and focus groups. We researched in four National Health Service hospitals in England. There we approached female workers over the age of 18 years and their immediate friends and family. We collected 4096 responses., RESULTS: Through descriptive statistical analysis, we learnt that women of screening age (>=50 years) were less likely than women under screening age to use technology apps for healthcare advice (likelihood ratio=0.85, 95% CI 0.82 to 0.89, p<0.001). They were also less likely than women under screening age to agree that AI can have a positive effect on society (likelihood ratio=0.89, 95% CI 0.84 to 0.95, p<0.001). However, they were more likely to feel positive about AI used to read mammograms (likelihood ratio=1.09, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.17, p=0.009)., DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Women of screening age are ready to accept the use of AI in breast screening but are less likely to use other AI-based health applications. A large number of women are undecided, or had mixed views, about the use of AI generally and they remain to be convinced that it can be trusted. Copyright © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
  • The relationship between mammography readers' real-life performance and performance in a test set-based assessment scheme in a national breast screening program

    James, Jonathan; Cornford, Eleanor J. (RSNA, 2020)
    Purpose: To compare an individual's Personal Performance in Mammographic Screening (PERFORMS) score with their Breast Screening Information System (BSIS) real-life performance data and determine which parameters in the PERFORMS scheme offer the best reflection of BSIS real-life performance metrics., Materials and Methods: In this retrospective study, the BSIS real-life performance metrics of individual readers (n = 452) in the National Health Service Breast Screening Program (NHSBSP) in England were compared with performance in the test set-based assessment scheme over a 3-year period from 2013 to 2016. Cancer detection rate (CDR), recall rate, and positive predictive value (PPV) were calculated for each reader, for both real-life screening and the PERFORMS test. For each metric, real-life and test set versions were compared using a Pearson correlation. The real-life CDR, recall rate, and PPV of outliers were compared against other readers (nonoutliers) using analysis of variance., Results: BSIS real-life CDRs, recall rates, and PPVs showed positive correlations with the equivalent PERFORMS measures (P < .001, P = .002, and P < .001, respectively). The mean real-life CDR of PERFORMS outliers was 7.2 per 1000 women screened and was significantly lower than other readers (nonoutliers) where the real-life CDR was 7.9 (P = .002). The mean real-life screening PPV of PERFORMS outliers was 0.14% and was significantly lower than the nonoutlier group who had a mean PPV of 0.17% (P = .006)., Conclusion: The use of test set-based assessment schemes in a breast screening program has the potential to predict and identify poor performance in real life.© RSNA, 2020Keywords: Breast, ScreeningSee also the commentary by Thigpen and Rapelyea in this issue. Copyright 2020 by the Radiological Society of North America, Inc.
  • Evaluation of a computer-aided detection (CAD)-enhanced 2D synthetic mammogram: Comparison with standard synthetic 2D mammograms and conventional 2D digital mammography

    James, Jonathan (Elsevier Ltd., 2018)
    AIM: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of computer-aided detection (CAD)-enhanced synthetic mammograms in comparison with standard synthetic mammograms and full-field digital mammography (FFDM)., MATERIALS AND METHODS: A CAD-enhanced synthetic mammogram, a standard synthetic mammogram, and FFDM were available in 68 breast-screening cases recalled for soft-tissue abnormalities (masses, parenchymal deformities, and asymmetric densities). Two radiologists, blinded to image type and final assessment outcome, retrospectively read oblique and craniocaudal projections for each type of mammogram. The resulting 204 pairs of 2D images were presented in random order and scored on a five-point scale (1, normal to 5, malignant) without access to the Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) slices. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was performed., RESULTS: There were 34 biopsy-proven malignancies and 34 normal/benign cases. Diagnostic accuracy was significantly improved for the CAD-enhanced synthetic mammogram compared to the standard synthetic mammogram (area under the ROC curve AUC]=0.846 and AUC=0.683 respectively, p=0.004) and compared to the conventional 2D FFDM (AUC=0.724, p=0.027). The CAD-enhanced synthetic mammogram had the highest diagnostic accuracy for all soft-tissue abnormalities, and for malignant lesions sensitivity was not affected by tumour size. For all 68 cases, there was an average of 3.2 areas enhanced per image. For the 34 cancer cases, 97.4% of lesions were correctly enhanced, with 2.1 false areas enhanced per image., CONCLUSIONS: CAD enhancement significantly improves performance of synthetic 2D mammograms and also exhibits improved diagnostic accuracy compared to conventional 2D FFDM. Copyright © 2018 The Royal College of Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Contrast-enhanced spectral mammography (CESM)

    James, Jonathan; Tennant, Sarah L. (Elsevier Ltd., 2018)
    Contrast-enhanced spectral mammography (CESM) is a valuable tool in the diagnosis and staging of primary breast cancer. It combines an iodinated contrast agent with conventional mammography to improve diagnostic accuracy, particularly in women with denser parenchymal background patterns. This review describes the CESM technique, reviews performance compared to conventional mammography and magnetic resonance imaging, assesses its role in the diagnosis and staging of primary breast cancer, and investigates its potential as a screening tool. Copyright © 2018 The Royal College of Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Measuring performance in the interpretation of chest radiographs: A pilot study

    James, Jonathan (Elsevier Ltd., 2017)
    AIM: To develop a system to assess the image interpretation performance of radiologists in identifying signs of malignancy on chest radiographs., MATERIALS AND METHODS: A test set of 30 chest radiographs was chosen by an experienced radiologist consisting of 11 normal and 19 abnormal cases. The malignant cases all had biopsy-proven pathology; the normal and benign cases all had at least 2 years of imaging follow-up. Fourteen radiologists with a range of experiences were recruited. Participants individually read the test set displayed on a standard reporting workstation, with their findings entered directly into a laptop running specially designed reporting software. For each case, relevant clinical information was given and the reader was asked to mark any perceived abnormality and rate their level of suspicion on a five-point scale (normal, benign, indeterminate, suspicious, or malignant). On completion, participants were given instant feedback with performance parameters including sensitivity and specificity automatically calculated. An opportunity was then given to review the cases together with an expert opinion and pathology. The time each participant took to complete the test was recorded., RESULTS: Six consultant radiologists who took part showed significantly better performance as determined by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis compared to eight specialist registrars (area under the ROC curve AUC]=0.9297 and 0.7648 respectively, p=0.003). There was a significant correlation with years of experience in the interpretation of chest radiographs and performance on the test set (r=0.573, p=0.032). Consultant radiologists completed the test significantly more quickly that the specialist registrars: mean time 19.65 minutes compared to 26.51 minutes (p=0.033)., CONCLUSION: It is possible to use a test set to measure individual differences in the interpretation of chest radiographs. This has the potential to be a useful tool in performance testing. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Contrast-enhanced spectral mammography improves diagnostic accuracy in the symptomatic setting.

    Tennant, Sarah L.; James, Jonathan; Cornford, Eleanor J.; Burrell, Helen C.; Hamilton, Lisa J.; Girio-Fragkoulakis, C. (Elsevier Ltd., 2016)
    AIM: To assess the diagnostic accuracy of contrast-enhanced spectral mammography (CESM), and gauge its "added value" in the symptomatic setting., MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective multi-reader review of 100 consecutive CESM examinations was performed. Anonymised low-energy (LE) images were reviewed and given a score for malignancy. At least 3 weeks later, the entire examination (LE and recombined images) was reviewed. Histopathology data were obtained for all cases. Differences in performance were assessed using receiver operator characteristic (ROC) analysis. Sensitivity, specificity, and lesion size (versus MRI or histopathology) differences were calculated., RESULTS: Seventy-three percent of cases were malignant at final histology, 27% were benign following standard triple assessment. ROC analysis showed improved overall performance of CESM over LE alone, with area under the curve of 0.93 versus 0.83 (p<0.025). CESM showed increased sensitivity (95% versus 84%, p<0.025) and specificity (81% versus 63%, p<0.025) compared to LE alone, with all five readers showing improved accuracy. Tumour size estimation at CESM was significantly more accurate than LE alone, the latter tending to undersize lesions. In 75% of cases, CESM was deemed a useful or significant aid to diagnosis., CONCLUSION: CESM provides immediately available, clinically useful information in the symptomatic clinic in patients with suspicious palpable abnormalities. Radiologist sensitivity, specificity, and size accuracy for breast cancer detection and staging are all improved using CESM as the primary mammographic investigation. Copyright © 2016 The Royal College of Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Accuracy of GE digital breast tomosynthesis vs supplementary mammographic views for diagnosis of screen-detected soft-tissue breast lesions

    Cornford, Eleanor J.; James, Jonathan; Tsang, Rachel; Burrell, Helen C.; Hamilton, Lisa J.; Tennant, Sarah L. (BIR Publications, 2016)
    OBJECTIVE: To compare the accuracy of standard supplementary views and GE digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) for assessment of soft-tissue mammographic abnormalities., METHODS: Women recalled for further assessment of soft-tissue abnormalities were recruited and received standard supplementary views (typically spot compression views) and two-view GE DBT. The added value of DBT in the assessment process was determined by analysing data collected prospectively by radiologists working up the cases. Following anonymization of cases, there was also a retrospective multireader review. The readers first read bilateral standard two-view digital mammography (DM) together with the supplementary mammographic views and gave a combined score for suspicion of malignancy on a five-point scale. The same readers then read bilateral standard two-view DM together with two-view DBT. Pathology data were obtained. Differences were assessed using receiver operating characteristic analysis., RESULTS: The study population was 342 lesions in 322 patients. The final diagnosis was malignant in 113 cases (33%) and benign/normal in 229 cases (67%). In the prospective analysis, the performance of two-view DM plus DBT was at least equivalent to the performance of two-view DM and standard mammographic supplementary views-the area under the curve (AUC) was 0.946 and 0.922, respectively, which did not reach statistical significance. Similar results were obtained for the retrospective review-AUC was 0.900 (DBT) and 0.873 (supplementary views), which did not reach statistical significance., CONCLUSION: The accuracy of GE DBT in the assessment of screen detected soft-tissue abnormalities is equivalent to the use of standard supplementary mammographic views., ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: The vast majority of evidence relating to the use of DBT has been gathered from research using Hologic equipment. This study provides evidence for the use of the commercially available GE DBT system demonstrating that it is at least equivalent to supplementary mammographic views in the assessment of soft-tissue screen-detected abnormalities.