The Characteristics of Malignant Breast Tumors Imaged Using a Prototype Mechanical Imaging System as an Adjunct to Mammography
Breast cancer is diagnosed by a combination of modalities. Measuring the elasto-mechanical properties of suspicious lesions, by e.g. ultrasound elastography, can help differentiate malignant from benign findings. Using a prototype Mechanical Imaging (MI) system as an adjunct to mammography, the aim of this study was to characterize tumors using MI and compare the readings to those from the contralateral breast. Thirteen bilateral MI sets from women with malignant breast lesions were included in this study, drawn from a larger set of 155 women recalled from screening. The results showed that mean lesion pressure was significantly greater than the mean pressure of the corresponding breast, 7.5 ± 7.0 kPa compared to 2.5 ± 1.6 kPa (P = 0.01). There was no evidence for a difference in mean pressure or standard deviation of the MI image between symptomatic and contralateral asymptomatic breasts (P = 0.24 and 0.68). The results support that it is possible to use MI to distinguish malignant cancers from normal breast tissue. Still, further investigations of the characteristics of benign lesions are necessary to ascertain the usefulness of the system.
KeywordsMammography Mechanical imaging Elastography Screening
The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Ingvar Andersson. We would also like to acknowledge the Unilabs staff at the Malmö Breast Centre for their contribution to the acquisition of the data. This study was supported by a grant from Stiftelsen för cancerforskning vid onkologiska kliniken vid Universitetssjukhuset MAS.
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