Assessment of repeated reference measurements to inform the validity of optical breast spectroscopy

Rachel Lloyd, Jane Walter, Sarah Pirikahu, Gemma Cadby, Martha Hickey, David D. Sampson, Karol Karnowski, Michael J. Hackmann, Christobel Saunders, Lothar Lilge, Jennifer Stone

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Mammographic breast density is a strong breast cancer risk factor, and its routine clinical measurement could potentially be used to identify women at higher risk of breast cancer and/or monitor primary prevention strategies. Previous reports of optical breast spectroscopy (OBS), a novel approach to measuring breast density, demonstrated that it is safe (no ionizing radiation), portable, low-cost, and does not require image interpretation but have been limited to small, single-center studies. Reference measurements taken on a phantom breast prior to and after each woman's OBS assessment are required for the calibration of the system transfer function as a part of processing participant data. To inform the validity of participant data, a detailed description of the reference measurements and a repeatability analysis of these measurements taken before and after participant assessment is presented. Reference measurements for OBS from 539 women aged 18-40 years were obtained as a part of a high-throughput epidemiological pilot study. Of these, measurements from 20 women with no useable data due to device failure (3.7%) were excluded and from another 12 women due to user error. The intra-class correlation (ICC) within complete pairs of reference data (taken before and after assessment) was high (all ICC > 0.84). The analysis presented here confirms the OBS participant data as valid for use in ongoing epidemiological research, providing further supporting evidence of OBS as a measure of breast density. A novel method of measuring breast density is needed to bridge large gaps in the knowledge of breast density in younger women and its relation to later-life breast cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044101
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


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