Free propagation phase-contrast breast CT provides higher image quality than cone-beam breast-CT at low radiation doses: a feasibility study on human mastectomies
© 2019, The Author(s). In this study we demonstrate the first direct comparison between synchrotron x-ray propagation-based CT (PB-CT) and cone-beam breast-CT (CB-CT) on human mastectomy specimens (N = 12) including different benign and malignant lesions. The image quality and diagnostic power of the obtained data sets were compared and judged by two independent expert radiologists. Two cases are presented in detail in this paper including a comparison with the corresponding histological evaluation. Results indicate that with PB-CT it is possible to increase the level of contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) keeping the same level of dose used for the CB-CT or achieve the same level of CNR reached by CB-CT at a lower level of dose. In other words, PB-CT can achieve a higher diagnostic potential compared to the commercial breast-CT system while also delivering a considerably lower mean glandular dose. Therefore, we believe that PB-CT technique, if translated to a clinical setting, could have a significant impact in improving breast cancer diagnosis.