AI can predict breast cancer risk up to 5 years before diagnosis


Published on News Medical

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a deep learning model that can predict breast cancer from mammogram images up to five years before a diagnosis can be made by doctors.

Screening programs using mammograph currently enable the earliest detection and treatment of breast cancer. However, such screening requires scrutiny of each mammogram for signs of abnormality, which is highly labor-intensive and open to human error due to the large number of women that must be screened.


Using information from more than 90,000 mammograms taken at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a team at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has developed a new deep-learning model that detects subtle patterns of change in breast tissue that the human eye is unable to detect.


Programmed using mammograms and known outcomes of over 60,000 patients, the model identifies precursors to malignant tumors and can predict from a mammogram if a patient is likely to develop breast cancer.

Because the predictions are data-driven (not influenced by risk factors, genetics or race) this type of intelligent screening can provide an individual risk assessment that could be used to customize screening and prevention programs on a patient-by-patient basis.