Assessment of a tumour growth model for virtual clinical trials of breast cancer screening

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


Image-based analysis of breast tumour growth rate may help optimize breast cancer screening and diagnosis. It may improve the identification of aggressive tumours and suggest optimal screening intervals. Virtual clinical trial (VCT) is a simulation-based method used to evaluate and optimize medical imaging systems and design clinical trials. Our work is motivated by desire to simulate multiple screening rounds with growing tumours. We have developed a model to simulate tumours with various growth rates; this study aims at evaluating the model. We used clinical data on tumour volume doubling times (TVDT) from our previous study, to fit a probability distribution ("clinical fit"). Growing tumours were inserted into 30 virtual breasts ("simulated cohort"). Based on the clinical fit we simulated two successive screening rounds for each virtual breast. TVDT from clinical and simulated images were compared. Tumour size was measured from simulated mammograms by a radiologist in three repeated sessions, to estimate TVDT ("estimated TVDT"). Reproducibility of measured sizes decreased slightly for small tumours. The mean TVDT from the clinical fit was 297±169 days, whereas the simulated cohort had 322±217 days, and the average estimated TVDT 340 ± 287 days. The median difference between the simulated and estimated TVDT was 12 days (4% of the mean clinical TVDT). Comparisons between other data sets suggest no significant difference (p>0.5). The proposed tumour growth model suggested close agreement with clinical results, supporting potential use in VCTs of temporal breast imaging.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • University of Pennsylvania
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


  • Digital mammography, Simulations, Tumour growth, Tumour volume doubling time, Virtual clinical trials
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2021
Subtitle of host publicationPhysics of Medical Imaging
EditorsHilde Bosmans, Wei Zhao, Lifeng Yu
ISBN (Electronic)9781510640191
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication categoryResearch
EventMedical Imaging 2021: Physics of Medical Imaging - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 2021 Feb 152021 Feb 19

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2021: Physics of Medical Imaging
CountryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographic note

Funding Information: This work is supported by grants from the European Commission H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Fellowship (IF 846540), the grants from the Cancerfonden, the Swedish Breast Cancer Association, and Stiftelsen för Cancerforskning vid Onkologiska kliniken vid Universitetssjukhuset MAS, as well as the US National Institutes of Health (R01 CA154444) and the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund (IRSA 1016451). Publisher Copyright: © COPYRIGHT SPIE. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.