Initial Measurements on Whole Human Prostate ex vivo with a Tactile Resonance Sensor in Order to Detect Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common form of cancer among the male population in Europe and the USA. PCa can be suspected by a blood test for a specific prostate antigen, a PSA-test, followed by a digital rectal examination (DRE). The objective with the DRE is to investigate the presence of stiff nodules on the prostate. Stiff nodules can indicate PCa and biopsies are taken from the suspicious parts of the prostate using guidance of a transrectal ultrasound. Microscopic evaluation of the biopsies is used for final diagnosis. Superficial tumor growth on, and beneath the surface of the gland is of special interest as it suggests that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Tactile resonance sensors can be used to distinguish between areas of different stiffness in soft tissue. The aim was to detect tumors on, and beneath the surface of a whole human prostate ex vivo.
A tactile resonance sensor system (TRSS) based on a piezoelectric resonance sensor and a force sensor has been used to detect areas with increased stiffness in soft tissue. The TRSS has a rotatable sample holder for measurements on spherical shaped samples. Stiffness measurements were made on samples of porcine muscle tissue with embedded stiff silicone nodules placed under the surface. Further measurements were made on a resected whole human prostate with PCa.
The results showed that through the measured stiffness parameter, the stiff silicone nodules placed down to 4 mm under the surface could be detected. The measurements on the prostate showed that elevated values of the stiffness parameter correlated (p < 0.05) with areas in the anterior of the prostate where cancer tumors were detected by histopathological evaluation. The tumors were significantly stiffer than the healthy tissue in the dorsal region.
The results are promising for further development of a clinically useful instrument to detect superficial PCa.
KeywordsProstate cancer Tissue stiffness Resonance sensors
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