Deep-LIBRA: An artificial-intelligence method for robust quantification of breast density with independent validation in breast cancer risk assessment

Omid Haji Maghsoudi, Aimilia Gastounioti, Christopher Scott, Lauren Pantalone, Fang Fang Wu, Eric A. Cohen, Stacey Winham, Emily F. Conant, Celine Vachon, Despina Kontos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Breast density is an important risk factor for breast cancer that also affects the specificity and sensitivity of screening mammography. Current federal legislation mandates reporting of breast density for all women undergoing breast cancer screening. Clinically, breast density is assessed visually using the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Reporting And Data System (BI-RADS) scale. Here, we introduce an artificial intelligence (AI) method to estimate breast density from digital mammograms. Our method leverages deep learning using two convolutional neural network architectures to accurately segment the breast area. An AI algorithm combining superpixel generation and radiomic machine learning is then applied to differentiate dense from non-dense tissue regions within the breast, from which breast density is estimated. Our method was trained and validated on a multi-racial, multi-institutional dataset of 15,661 images (4,437 women), and then tested on an independent matched case-control dataset of 6368 digital mammograms (414 cases; 1178 controls) for both breast density estimation and case-control discrimination. On the independent dataset, breast percent density (PD) estimates from Deep-LIBRA and an expert reader were strongly correlated (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.90). Moreover, in a model adjusted for age and BMI, Deep-LIBRA yielded a higher case-control discrimination performance (area under the ROC curve, AUC = 0.612 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.584, 0.640]) compared to four other widely-used research and commercial breast density assessment methods (AUCs = 0.528 to 0.599). Our results suggest a strong agreement of breast density estimates between Deep-LIBRA and gold-standard assessment by an expert reader, as well as improved performance in breast cancer risk assessment over state-of-the-art open-source and commercial methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102138
JournalMedical Image Analysis
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Breast cancer risk
  • Breast density
  • Deep learning
  • Digital mammography


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