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Imaging Combo Holds Promise for Breast Cancer Detection

Ultrasound-guided optical tomography IDs early cancers, has potential to reduce biopsy rate

TUESDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Ultrasound-guided optical tomography appears to be an effective means for differentiating early-stage breast cancers from benign lesions, and it has the potential to reduce the number of breast biopsies women undergo for suspicious lesions, according to research published online June 22 in Radiology.

Quing Zhu, Ph.D., of the University of Connecticut in Storrs, and colleagues examined data on 178 women undergoing biopsy on solid lesions via ultrasound with a near-infrared (NIR) imager to examine the potential use of optical tomography for distinguishing early-stage cancers from benign lesions. They measured light absorption at two wavelengths to compute total hemoglobin concentrations (tHb), and correlated those measurements with results from biopsy.

The researchers found two in situ carcinomas, 35 T1 carcinomas (less than 2 cm), 24 T2 to T4 carcinomas (greater than 2 cm), and 114 benign lesions. Maximum and average tHb were significantly higher in the malignant group. The technique's sensitivity and specificity were best when the cancers were less than 2 cm, at 92 percent and 93 percent, respectively.

"The angiogenesis (tHb) contrast imaged by using the NIR technique with ultrasound holds promise as an adjunct to mammography and ultrasound for distinguishing early-stage invasive breast cancers from benign lesions," the authors write.

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