Breast cancer Ki-67 expression prediction by digital breast tomosynthesis radiomics features

Alberto Stefano Tagliafico, Bianca Bignotti, Federica Rossi, Joao Matos, Massimo Calabrese, Francesca Valdora, Nehmat Houssami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: To investigate whether quantitative radiomic features extracted from digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) are associated with Ki-67 expression of breast cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a prospective ethically approved study of 70 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2018, including 40 low Ki-67 expression (Ki-67 proliferation index <14%) cases and 30 high Ki-67 expression (Ki-67 proliferation index ≥ 14%) cases. A set of 106 quantitative radiomic features, including morphological, grey/scale statistics, and texture features, were extracted from DBT images. After applying least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) method to select the most predictive features set for the classifiers, low versus high Ki-67 expression was evaluated by the area under the curve (AUC) at receiver operating characteristic analysis. Correlation coefficient was calculated for the most significant features. RESULTS: A combination of five features yielded AUC of up to 0.698. The five most predictive features (sphericity, autocorrelation, interquartile range, robust mean absolute deviation, and short-run high grey-level emphasis) showed a statistical significance (p ≤ 0.001) in the classification. Thirty-four features were significantly (p ≤ 0.001) correlated with Ki-67, and five of these had a correlation coefficient of > 0.5. CONCLUSION: The present study showed that quantitative radiomic imaging features of breast tumour extracted from DBT images are associated with breast cancer Ki-67 expression. Larger studies are needed in order to further evaluate these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalEuropean radiology experimental
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 14 2019


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Cell proliferation
  • Ki-67 expression
  • Mammography
  • Radiomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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