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Novel Combo Imaging Spots Malignant Breast Lesions

Combined imaging modalities could reduce false positives and unnecessary biopsies

FRIDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A newly developed imaging system that combines optical and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) imaging can noninvasively distinguish malignant and benign breast lesions, cysts, and adipose tissue, potentially reducing the false positives and unnecessary biopsies that can occur with conventional mammography, according to a study published online Nov. 9 in Radiology.

Qianqian Fang, Ph.D., of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Charlestown, and colleagues used three-dimensional DBT to image the breast structure and diffuse optical tomography (DOT) to assess the tissue's physiologic and functional properties, such as total hemoglobin concentration (HbT) and oxygen saturation (So2), in 125 subjects. Malignant tumors and solid benign lesions discovered during imaging were confirmed by biopsy.

Overlaying the DBT structural and DOT functional images, the researchers were able to discern both breast structures and differences in HbT and So2 characteristic of malignant tumors, benign lesions, cysts, and adipose tissue. The novel imaging system successfully identified lesions in 51 breasts, including 26 malignant tumors, 17 benign lesions, and 8 cysts, as well as yielding negative findings for 138 breasts.

"The optical and DBT images were structurally consistent. The malignant tumors and benign lesions demonstrated different HbT and scattering contrasts, which can potentially be exploited to reduce the false-positive rate of conventional mammography and unnecessary biopsies," the authors write.

The research was supported in part by GE Healthcare.

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