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Establishing spatial correspondence between features visible in X-ray mammograms obtained at different times has great potential to aid assessment and quantitation of change in the breast indicative of malignancy. The literature contains numerous non- rigid registration algorithms developed for this purpose, but existing approaches are flawed by the assumption of inappropriate 2-D transformation models and quantitative estimation of registration accuracy is limited. In this paper, we describe a novel validation method which simulates plausible mammographic compressions of the breast using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) derived finite element model. By projecting the resulting known 3-D displacements into 2-D and generating pseudo-mammograms from these same compressed magnetic resonance (MR) volumes, we can generate convincing images with known 2-D displacements with which to validate a registration algorithm. We illustrate this approach by computing the accuracy for two conventional nonrigid 2-D registration algorithms applied to mammographic test images generated from three patient MR datasets. We show that the accuracy of these algorithms is close to the best achievable using a 2-D one-to-one correspondence model but that new algorithms incorporating more representative transformation models are required to achieve sufficiently accurate registrations for this application.