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Dedicated breast computed tomography: Basic aspects
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of the compressed breast is well recognized as the “gold standard” for early
detection of breast cancer, but its performance is not ideal. One
limitation of screening mammography is tissue superposition, particularly for dense
breasts. Since 2001, several research groups in the USA and in the European Union
have developed computed
with digital detector technology dedicated to x-ray imaging of
the uncompressed breast (breast CT or BCT) for breast cancer screening and
diagnosis. This CT technology—tracing back to initial studies in the 1970s—allows
some of the limitations of mammography to be overcome, keeping the levels of radiation dose
to the radiosensitive breast glandular tissue similar to that of two-view
mammography for the same breast size and composition. This paper
presents an evaluation of the research efforts carried out in the invention,
development, and improvement of BCT with dedicated scanners with
state-of-the-art technology, including initial steps toward commercialization, after
more than a decade of R&D in the laboratory and/or in the clinic. The intended
focus here is on the technological/engineering aspects of BCT and on outlining
advantages and limitations as reported in the related literature. Prospects for
future research in this field are discussed.
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