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Functional X-Ray Imaging of the Breast: Moving Beyond Three Dimensions

Kolloquium der Abteilung 6

The main limitation of mammography, screen-film and digital, is its two-dimensional nature, resulting in tissue superimposition. This effect limits the sensitivity and specificity of mammography, especially in dense breasts. To overcome this issue, over the last two decades, two new imaging modalities have been introduced: digital breast tomosynthesis and dedicated breast CT. These have finally introduced x-ray breast imaging to the tomographic realm. However, these are still morphological imaging methods, which show only shapes and sizes, making them useful only for early detection and diagnosis. The next leap forward in breast imaging will bring about the personalization of treatment with more advanced, but still affordable, imaging methods. We will review the physical and technological principles of these established tomographic x-ray imaging modalities, and present the advances being made to transform them to functional imaging methods aimed at the personalization of breast cancer treatment.