Radiomics in breast cancer classification and prediction

Allegra Conti, Andrea Duggento, Iole Indovina, Maria Guerrisi, Nicola Toschi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Breast Cancer (BC) is the common form of cancer in women. Its diagnosis and screening are usually performed through different imaging modalities such as mammography, magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound. However, mammography and ultrasound-imaging techniques have limited sensitivity and specificity both in identifying lesions and in differentiating malign from benign lesions, especially in presence of dense breast parenchyma. Due to the higher resolution of magnetic resonance images, MRI represents the method with the higher specificity and sensitivity among all the available tools, in both lesions’ identification and diagnosis. However, especially for diagnosis, even MRI has limitations that are only partially solved if combined with mammography. Unfortunately, due to the limits of all these imaging tools, in order to have a certain diagnosis, patients often receive painful and costly bioptics procedures. In this context, several computational approaches have been developed to increase sensitivity, while maintaining the same specificity, in BC diagnosis and screening. Amongst these, radiomics has been increasingly gaining ground in oncology to improve cancer diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Radiomics derives multiple quantitative features from single or multiple medical imaging modalities, highlighting image traits which are not visible to the naked eye and hence significantly augmenting the discriminatory and predictive potential of medical imaging. This review article aims to summarize the state of the art in radiomics-based BC research. The dominating evidence extracted from the literature points towards a high potential of radiomics in disentangling malignant from benign breast lesions, classifying BC types and grades and also in predicting treatment response and recurrence risk. In the era of personalized medicine, radiomics has the potential to improve diagnosis, prognosis, prediction, monitoring, image-based intervention, and assessment of therapeutic response in BC.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer classification
  • Cancer diagnosis
  • Cancer prediction
  • Radiomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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