Early detection of breast cancer is important and highly valuable in clinical practice. X-ray mammography is broadly used for prescreening the breast and is also attractive due to its noninvasive nature. However, experts can misdiagnose a significant proportion of the cases, which may either cause redundant examinations or cancer. In order to reduce false positive and negative rates of mammography screening, computer-aided breast cancer detection has been studied for more than 30 years and many methods have been proposed by the researchers. In this review, region of interest (ROI) classification methods, which operate on a predefined or segmented ROIs with a focus on mass classification are surveyed. A total of 72 high quality journal and conference papers are selected from the Web of Science (WOS) database that meet several inclusion criteria. A comparative analysis is provided based on ROI extraction methods, data sets and machine learning techniques employed, the prediction accuracies, and usage frequency statistics. Based on the performances obtained on publicly available data sets, the ROI classification problem from mammogram images can be considered as approaching to be solved. Nonetheless, it can still be used as complementary information in breast cancer detection from the whole mammograms, which has room for improvement.