We previously reported reductions in mammographic densities in women participating in a trial of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHA)-based regimen for breast cancer prevention. In our previous report, we compared (by simultaneous evaluation) three basic elements of mammographic densities. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate whether a standard (expert) method of measuring mammographic densities would detect such changes in densities and whether a novel nonexpert computer-based threshold method could do so. Mammograms were obtained from 19 women at baseline and 12 months after randomization to the GnRHA-based regimen. The extent of mammographic densities was determined by: (a) a standard expert outlining method developed by Wolfe and his colleagues (Am. J. Roentgenol., 148: 1087-1092, 1987); and (b) a new computer-based threshold method of determining densities. The results from both the expert outlining method and the computer-based threshold method were highly consistent with the results of our original (simultaneous evaluation) method. All three methods yielded statistically significant reductions in densities from baseline to the 12-month follow-up mammogram in women on the contraceptive regimen. The difference between the treated and the control group was statistically significant with the expert outlining method and was of borderline statistical significance with the computer-based threshold method. The computer-based results correlated highly (r > 0.85) with the results from the expert outlining method. Both the standard expert outlining method and the computer-based threshold method detected the reductions we had previously noted in mammographic densities induced by the GnRHA-based regimen.

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