Impact of Breast Reader Assessment Strategy on mammographic radiologists' test reading performance



The detection of breast cancer is somewhat limited by human factors, and thus there is a need to improve reader performance. This study assesses whether radiologists who regularly undertake the education in the form of the Breast Reader Assessment Strategy (BREAST) demonstrate any changes in mammography interpretation performance over time.


In 2011, 2012 and 2013, 14 radiologists independently assessed a year-specific BREAST mammographic test-set. Radiologists read a different single test-set once each year, with each comprising 60 digital mammogram cases. Radiologists marked the location of suspected lesions without computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) and assigned a confidence rating of 2 for benign and 3–5 for malignant lesions. The mean sensitivity, specificity, location sensitivity, JAFROC FOM and ROC AUC were calculated. A Kruskal–Wallis test was used to compare the readings for the 14 radiologists across the 3 years. Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to assess comparison between pairs of years. Relationships between changes in performance and radiologist characteristics were examined using a Spearman's test.


Significant increases were noted in mean sensitivity (P = 0.01), specificity (P = 0.01), location sensitivity (P = 0.001) and JAFROC FOM (P = 0.001) between 2011 and 2012. Between 2012 and 2013, significant improvements were noted in mean sensitivity (P = 0.003), specificity (P = 0.002), location sensitivity (P = 0.02), JAFROC FOM (P = 0.005) and ROC AUC (P = 0.008). No statistically significant correlations were shown between the levels of improvement and radiologists' characteristics.


Radiologists' who undertake the BREAST programme demonstrate significant improvements in test-set performance during a 3-year period, highlighting the value of ongoing education through the use of test-set.