Fractal Dimension Features for MRI Breast Mass Analysis

Period of Performance: 09/25/1998 - 03/24/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Alan Penn and Associates, Inc.
Rockville, MD 20850
Principal Investigator


We propose developing a robust algorithm to evaluate the fractal dimension (fd) of borders of Magnetic Resonance (MR) images of breast masses which contain a small number of pixels. The fd algorithm will be evaluated in upcoming MR breast clinical trials and will be marketed to developers of computer-aided diagnosis systems for MR breast imaging. Contrast-enhanced MR is a promising tool for detecting and diagnosing masses in dense, radio-opaque and scarred breasts. Since border roughness is correlated to breast cancer and fd is a measure of roughness, the proposed algorithm will generate an objective indicator of malignancy. Current algorithms for estimating fd which use box counting or fractional Brownian motion are non-robust when applied to images with limited pixel data. The proposed algorithm generates a family of fractal interpolation function models and derives robust fd estimates from she statistics of the models. The proposed algorithm computes the following features: (a) an estimate of fd of the mass border, (b) a measure of the reliability of the estimate, (c) a measure of the extent of self-affinity of the border, and (d) a measure of the stability of the estimate over a range of threshold levels. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: A computer-aided diagnosis system which reliably discriminates benign from malignant masses will have a significant market value to MR! centers and developers who have an interest in developing and promoting MR! as an adjunctive method of screening for breast cancer. Since our product enhances the performance of such a system, there is a large commercial potential and a readily identified pool of prospective strategic partners.