Titles and Affiliations

Professor of Radiology, Magee-Womens Hospital
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Research area

To improve the precision of breast cancer detection in women with a personal history of breast cancer or who have dense breast tissue. 

Impact

Women who have been treated for breast cancer are at increased risk for recurrence and second breast cancers. Unfortunately, current mammography is inadequate for detecting breast cancers in this population and the capacity for widespread MRI is limited and costly. Women with dense breasts also face limits in screening options since mammography can miss early lesions.  Ultrasound, which is sometimes recommended for women with dense breasts, has a high rate of false positives and is also not widely available. Dr. Berg is assessing alternative methods of screening for these populations that could provide more precise results, including artificial intelligence-enhanced ultrasound. They are also comparing the effectiveness of 3-D mammography versus contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) for cancer detection and the rate of false positive results. Her research will help optimize screening practices for women with recurrent breast cancer or dense breasts and has the potential to further reduce mortality from breast cancer. 

Progress Thus Far

Dr. Berg is conducting a clinical trial to test AI-enhanced ultrasound technology—called CADx—in women with dense breasts. In other studies, Dr. Berg is comparing CEM, with 3-D mammography (tomosynthesis) to determine the feasibility of CEM as a low cost and more effective method of breast cancer detection than tomosynthesis or MRI. They have enrolled over 400 women thus far. 

What’s next

In the coming year, Dr. Berg and her colleagues will continue to accrue participants to the CEM vs. 3D mammography study and analyze the effects of breast density on the false positive rate with CEM screening. The results of these studies will inform screening strategies by providing good estimates of cancer detection with annual CEM, interval cancer rates, and false positives. 

Biography

Wendie A. Berg, MD, PhD, FACR, is Professor of Radiology at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and is well known for her role as Study Chair and PI of ACRIN 6666, Screening Breast Ultrasound and MRI in High-Risk Women.  Dr. Berg trained at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she received MD and PhD (Pharmacology) degrees in 1987 and completed residency in Diagnostic Radiology in 1992. She worked on BI-RADS Ultrasound and Mammography lexicons, has authored or coauthored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, co-writes and edits the book, Diagnostic Imaging: Breast (3 editions), has led and authored results of multicenter clinical trials evaluating breast PET, shear-wave elastography, and is currently completing a prospective multicenter study of screening ultrasound after tomosynthesis in women with dense breasts in addition to starting a prospective study of contrast-enhanced mammography vs. tomosynthesis in women with a personal history of breast cancer.  She was elected an honorary fellow of the Austrian Roentgen Society in 2012 for her contributions to the design of the Austrian Breast Cancer Screening Program. Recognizing her efforts to evaluate and implement supplemental screening methods for women with dense breasts, Dr. Berg received the 2012 Global Breast Cancer Medical Achievement Award from the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. In 2013, she was awarded the Pathfinder lectureship of the American Society of Breast Disease, and in 2015 she received the Pink Ribbon Award from the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition. Dr. Berg is Chief Scientific Advisor to www.DenseBreast-info.org.

BCRF Investigator Since

2016

Donor Recognition

The Lane Bryant Award

Areas of Focus