A new approach for detecting abnormalities in mammograms using a computer-aided windowing system based on Otsu’s method

  • Saber Mohammadi-Sardo
  • Fateme Labibi
  • Seyed Ali ShafieiEmail author


Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide. This study aimed to provide an automatic windowing method in mammograms, based on the principles of Otsu’s thresholding function, to help radiologists more easily detect abnormalities on mammograms. A total of 322 mammographic images from the Mammographic Image Analysis Society (MIAS) database were used in the present study. The image background was removed based on Otsu’s method. After selecting the threshold in the computer-aided windowing (CAW) system, the pixel values were kept larger than the threshold and displayed on a grayscale. A radiologist evaluated images randomly before and after CAW. Using CAW, the radiologist correctly diagnosed all healthy images (207 images). A total of 115 mammograms were evaluated to differentiate malignancy from benign masses. All 63 benign images were accurately diagnosed after using CAW. Moreover, of 52 malignant images, all were accurately recognized as malignant except one, which was recognized as benign. Therefore, specificity and sensitivity were significantly improved to 98% and 99.6%, respectively, and the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was calculated to be 0.99. The study showed that the use of CAW can potentially lead to quicker image assessment and improve the diagnostic accuracy of radiologists in differentiating between benign and malignant masses on mammograms.


Computer-aided diagnosis Breast cancer ROC curve Computer-aided windowing Thresholding 



This research was supported by grants from Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences. We give special thanks to Dr M. Ebad Zadeh as the scientific advisor of the current study and S. Skies for editing this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. This article does not contain patient data.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Radiological Technology and Japan Society of Medical Physics 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saber Mohammadi-Sardo
    • 1
  • Fateme Labibi
    • 2
  • Seyed Ali Shafiei
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Radiology, School of Allied MedicineRafsanjan University of Medical SciencesRafsanjanIran
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyKerman University of Medical SciencesKermanIran
  3. 3.Neurology and Neuroscience Research CenterQom University of Medical SciencesQomIran

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