By Kate Madden Yee, staff writer
November 9, 2016

Some say machine learning is the next big frontier in medicine -- and sooner or later, it will likely be coming to a breast imaging center near you.

At this year's RSNA 2016 meeting, attendees will hear how machine learning could be incorporated into the subspecialty, perhaps by improving clinicians' ability to assess a woman's breast cancer risk or even by reducing unnecessary biopsies. This research, along with a number of studies that will explore multimodality approaches to breast cancer screening and patient management, will make for a dynamic, thought-provoking RSNA for women's imaging.

You'll also continue to hear plenty about digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), which has become increasingly accepted for both screening and diagnostic use. Look for studies that explore the technology's performance in identifying architectural distortions, how it could be changing radiologists' use of the BI-RADS 3 lesion category, and whether it is making other modalities, such as breast MRI, less necessary.

What about ultrasound? Presenters will explore topics ranging from the use of subharmonic ultrasound to help predict breast cancer chemotherapy response and whether including the axilla is necessary in breast ultrasound, to replacing breast MRI with ultrasound tomography and whether whole-breast ultrasound is necessary in women undergoing digital breast tomosynthesis.

Finally, you won't want to miss the "hot topic" and "controversy" sessions RSNA is hosting: one focusing on issues of breast density, one on personalized screening, and another on the continuing confusion over mammography screening. And if you need a refresher in the basics, there will be plenty of courses to choose from, covering topics such as DBT, interventional procedures, MRI, and ultrasound.

For highlights of just some of the many women's imaging research papers and posters scheduled for presentation at this year's meeting, read on. To view RSNA's complete listing of abstracts for the 2016 scientific and educational program, click here.

Scientific and Educational Presentations
Technologists handle ABUS just as well as sonographers
Sunday, November 27 | 10:55 a.m.-11:05 a.m. | SSA02-02 | Room N228
Mammography technologists' performance with diagnostic automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) is comparable to that of sonographers, according to research being presented on Sunday morning at RSNA 2016.
Skip mammography if patient's screened with breast MRI
Sunday, November 27 | 11:05 a.m.-11:15 a.m. | SSA01-03 | Arie Crown Theater
Researchers in the Netherlands have found that women at higher risk for breast cancer who are regularly screened with breast MRI don't need to also be screened with mammography.
DBT wins for identifying architectural distortions
Sunday, November 27 | 11:15 a.m.-11:25 a.m. | SSA01-04 | Arie Crown Theater
Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is better than mammography at identifying architectural distortions in breast tissue -- which means it reduces the variability of results between exam readers and increases readers' confidence in their interpretations, according to this study being presented on Sunday morning.
DBT screening appears effective in all age groups
Sunday, November 27 | 11:45 a.m.-11:55 a.m. | SSA01-07 | Arie Crown Theater
Researchers from Yale University have found that digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is an effective breast cancer screening tool for women in all age groups -- including those younger than 50, who may be susceptible to a higher rate of false positives.
DBT cuts recall rates, finds more cancers in young women
Sunday, November 27 | 12:30 p.m.-1:00 p.m. | BR216-SD-SUA1 | Lakeside, BR Community, Station 1
Adding digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) to mammography reduces recall rates while increasing cancer detection in women younger than 50, according to this Sunday afternoon poster presentation.
Calif. breast density law upped MRI screening rates
Sunday, November 27 | 1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. | BR225-SD-SUB5 | Lakeside, BR Community, Station 5
Since California passed its breast density notification law in 2013, the use of screening breast MRI has more than doubled, researchers from the University of California, Davis have found.
Machine learning comes to breast cancer risk assessment
Monday, November 28 | 9:00 a.m.-9:10 a.m. | RC215-03 | Arie Crown Theater
Can machine learning help clinicians better assess parenchymal patterns for breast cancer risk? It appears so, according to this study being discussed on Monday morning.
Study links MRI biomarkers with breast cancer prognosis
Monday, November 28 | 10:40 a.m.-10:50 a.m. | SSC08-02 | Room S402AB
Certain MRI biomarkers may provide an early prediction of how a breast cancer patient will respond to the first cycle of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and they may help determine whether additional treatment is necessary, according to a new study.
How well do radiologists hew to screening benchmarks?
Monday, November 28 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | RC215-16 | Arie Crown Theater
Radiologists are hitting certain breast screening benchmarks, but there's room for improvement, concluded researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital.
The pros and cons of risk-based breast cancer screening
Monday, November 28 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | RC215-17 | Arie Crown Theater
Which is better: basing breast cancer screening on a woman's risk or her age? There are definite trade-offs, according to this Monday presentation.
Deep learning could reduce unnecessary biopsies
Monday, November 28 | 3:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m. | SSE02-03 | Room E450A
Could deep learning reduce unnecessary biopsies of microcalcifications found on mammography? The potential is there, according to University of Chicago researchers.
HIFU good for fibroid treatment
Monday, November 28 | 3:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m. | SSE25-03 | Room N226
In this session, researchers will present findings that suggest portable, ultrasound-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is an effective and safe way to treat uterine fibroids.
Dutch researchers add TWIST to breast MRI
Tuesday, November 29 | 9:10 a.m.-9:20 a.m. | RC315-04 | Arie Crown Theater
Dutch researchers may have found a way to make breast cancer screening less expensive and time-consuming through an ultrafast dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI sequence known as time-resolved angiography with stochastic trajectories (TWIST).
DBT changes how radiologists use the BI-RADS 3 category
Tuesday, November 29 | 10:30 a.m.-10:40 a.m. | SSG01-01 | Room E451A
Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is improving radiologists' diagnostic confidence, which is translating into less frequent use of the BI-RADS 3 ("probably benign") category, researchers from Yale University have found.
In the era of DBT, is breast MRI necessary?
Tuesday, November 29 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSG01-09 | Room E451A
Is supplemental breast MRI screening necessary for women at high risk who have been imaged with digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT)? Yes, according to researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital.
Subharmonic US helps predict breast cancer chemo response
Tuesday, November 29 | 3:00 p.m.-3:10 p.m. | SSJ21-01 | Room S403A
Contrast-enhanced subharmonic imaging and 4D subharmonic-aided pressure estimation may help clinicians predict the chemotherapy treatment response of breast cancers before tumor size changes can be seen, according to researchers from Thomas Jefferson University.
Could US tomography replace MRI for breast imaging?
Tuesday, November 29 | 3:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m. | SSJ02-03 | Room E450A
Could ultrasound tomography replace -- or at least offer an alternative to -- breast MRI? Perhaps, according to researchers at a tomography systems developer.
Contrast mammo more sensitive than WBUS for breast screening
Tuesday, November 29 | 3:40 p.m.-3:50 p.m. | SSJ01-05 | Arie Crown Theater
In this Tuesday session, researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will present study data that show contrast-enhanced digital mammography to be more sensitive than whole-breast screening ultrasound (WBUS) for supplemental breast cancer screening.
CEUS biopsy shows promise for breast cancer staging
Tuesday, November 29 | 3:50 p.m.-4:00 p.m. | SSJ02-06 | Room E450A
Microbubble contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) fine-needle aspiration biopsy is a viable, less invasive way to evaluate sentinel lymph nodes in breast cancer patients compared with surgical lymph node staging, according to a new study.
Does including the axilla help or hinder breast US?
Wednesday, November 30 | 10:40 a.m.-10:50 a.m. | SSK02-02 | Room E451A
Should the axilla be included in supplemental screening breast ultrasound? Probably not, according to South Korean researchers.
BI-RADS 3 breast lesions safe to track with 12-month US
Wednesday, November 30 | 10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m. | SSK02-03 | Room E451A
Supplemental ultrasound for women with dense breasts finds cancers mammography doesn't, but it can also lead to many follow-ups at short-term intervals, especially if lesions are categorized as BI-RADS 3. Could these lesions be tracked at a longer interval?
CAD improves ABUS efficiency in women with dense tissue
Wednesday, November 30 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSK02-04 | Room E451A
European researchers have found that dedicated computer-aided detection (CAD) software for automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) improves the efficiency of the modality when used for supplemental imaging in women with dense breast tissue.
Is WBUS necessary for women undergoing tomosynthesis?
Wednesday, November 30 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSK02-09 | Room E451A
In this Wednesday session, researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will share research that indicates the clinical value of whole-breast ultrasound (WBUS) is reduced in women undergoing digital breast tomosynthesis rather than regular digital mammography.
DBT is changing how breast imaging is practiced
Wednesday, November 30 | 3:50 p.m.-4:00 p.m. | SSM02-06 | Room E451B
Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is changing the practice of breast imaging, including the way screening and diagnostic mammograms are performed, according to Yale University researchers.
Study reveals global preoperative breast MRI utilization
Thursday, December 1 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSQ01-09 | Room E450A
How do physicians use preoperative breast MRI scans for women with newly diagnosed cancer, and how effective is the modality in directing patients to the most appropriate treatment? This Thursday session will shed some light on these questions.