A Deep Learning-Based Decision Support Tool for Precision Risk Assessment of Breast Cancer

Tiancheng He, Mamta Puppala, Chika F Ezeana, Yan-Siang Huang, Ping-Hsuan Chou, Xiaohui Yu, Shenyi Chen, Lin Wang, Zheng Yin, Rebecca L Danforth, Joe Ensor, Jenny Chang, Tejal Patel, Stephen T C Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) lexicon was developed to standardize mammographic reporting to assess cancer risk and facilitate the decision to biopsy. Because of substantial interobserver variability in the application of the BI-RADS lexicon, the decision to biopsy varies greatly and results in overdiagnosis and excessive biopsies. The false-positive rate from mammograms is estimated to be 7% to approximately 10% overall, but within the BI-RADS 4 category, it is greater than 70%. Therefore, we developed the Breast Cancer Risk Calculator (BRISK) to target a well-characterized and specific patient subgroup (BI-RADS 4) rather than a broad heterogeneous group in assessing breast cancer risk.

METHODS: BRISK provides a novel precise risk assessment model to reduce overdiagnosis and unnecessary biopsies. It was developed by applying natural language processing and deep learning methods on 5,147 patient records archived in the Houston Methodist systemwide data warehouse from 2006 to May 2015, including imaging and pathology reports, mammographic images, and patient demographics. Key characteristics for BI-RADS 4 patients were collected and computed to output an index measure for biopsy recommendation that is clinically relevant and informative and improves upon the traditional BI-RADS 4 scores.

RESULTS: For the validation set, we assessed data from 1,247 BI-RADS 4 patients, including mammographic images and medical reports. The BRISK model sensitivity to predict malignancy was 100%, whereas the specificity was 74%. The total accuracy of our implemented model in BRISK was 81%. Overall area under the curve was 0.93.

CONCLUSION: BRISK for abnormal mammogram uses integrative artificial intelligence technology and has demonstrated high sensitivity in the prediction of malignancy. Prospective evaluation is under way and can lead to improvement in patient-physician engagement in making informed decisions with regard to biopsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJCO Clinical Cancer Informatics
Early online dateMay 29 2019
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Health Informatics


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