iCAD rebuts journal criticism of technology

iCAD, the Nashua-based developer of computer-aided cancer screening systems, has spoken out against a recent article published in the New England Journal of Medicine that cast doubts on the technology’s effectiveness.

The researchers of the journal article “Influence of Computer-Aided Detection on Performance of Screening Mammography,” published April 5, reviewed the use of computer-aided mammograms and the performance of screening mammography from 1998 through 2002 at 43 facilities in three states.

The authors concluded: “The use of computer-aided detection is associated with reduced accuracy of interpretation of screening mammograms. The increased rate of biopsy with the use of computer-aided detection is not clearly associated with improved detection of invasive breast cancer.”

iCAD officials commented on the article in a statement issued the same day saying the researchers evaluated results from tests using versions of CAD that were five to nine years old.

The company said that current versions of the technology have made “considerable advancements” making computer-aided testing more sensitive in detecting cancer while reducing false negative.

iCAD also pointed to more than 25 published studies that supported the technology’s effectiveness in detecting cancer, and that “CAD is considered standard of care and is widely adopted in the fast growing digital mammography market.”

“iCAD’s technology is an important screening tool in the early detection of breast cancer,” said Ken Ferry, CEO of iCAD, in the company statement. “Advancements in digital mammography, extensive published data and broad adoption of iCAD’s solutions all confirm the benefits CAD technology.”

The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of computer-aided technology in mammograms in 1998. iCAD systems work by using sophisticated artificial intelligence, computer algorithms and pattern recognition to analyze images and identify patterns of areas within a mammograph that may be suspicious. Film mammograms are similar to standard x-rays. — CINDY KIBBE

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