Using Artificial Intelligence to Assess Breast Cancer – Chicago Health

Using Artificial Intelligence to Assess Breast Cancer – Chicago Health

Software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) may help improve breast cancer diagnosis.

QuantX, developed in Chicago, uses AI to analyze breast MRIs. Radiologists can use the technology to help assess if breast lesions are cancerous. Research shows the technology led to a 39% reduction in missed cancers, according to a clinical trial.

Maryellen Giger, PhD, a professor of radiology at the University of Chicago, developed the technology, which the FDA cleared in 2017. “You can think of breast cancer screening as Where’s Waldo?” she says, referring to the puzzle books where one searches for a character who blends in with background images.

QuantX, now owned by Chicago-based company Qlarity Imaging, generates a 3-D image that radiologists can rotate to see the size and location of a tumor. They can use that image to decide whether to conduct a biopsy. 

Though patients are unlikely to know if a doctor used the software, it’s now in hospitals and imaging centers around the country. Down the line, similar software could be used to diagnose other cancers, like in the prostate and lung. 


Originally published in the Spring/Summer 2021 print issue.  Above Image: Maryellen Giger, PhD, is a pioneer in computer-aided diagnosis (CAD). Photo courtesy of UChicago Medicine

Susan Cosier is a Chicago-based writer focused on science and the environment. Her work has appeared in Scientific American and Science.

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