Impacts of Recent Changes to Bi-RADS Density Guidelines

Changes to BI-RADS Density Guidelines seem unlikely to impact population distributions of breast density.

Posted by Brian Sprague, PhD at 10:45 AM on Jan 31, 2019


Mammographic breast density is widely recognized as an important predictor of mammography performance and breast cancer risk.  Changes to mammography practice, including revised Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) density classification guidelines and implementation of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), may impact clinical breast density assessment.  We evaluated breast density data from more than 3 million mammograms interpreted at 144 facilities participating in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium.  We found that patterns in breast density assessment were similar before and after the release of the new BI-RADS guidelines, and were also similar on DBT exams compared to conventional digital mammography exams.  Clinicians, researchers, and policymakers may reasonably expect stable density distributions across screened populations despite changes to the BI-RADS guidelines and implementation of DBT. 

April 2020 Update: BCSC work on the prevalence of breast density in the US was highlighted in NCI’s 2020 budget report.
The full article can be found here: https://academic.oup.com/jnci/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jnci/djy210/5280767 
This research study was also highlighted on the Journal of Clinical Pathways site and MdLinx: Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Posted By: Brian Sprague, PhD