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Lesion Differentiation During Routine Breast Cancer Screening Using An Acousto-Optic Transmission Ultrasound Imaging System

J Rosenfield

J. R. Rosenfield1*, J.S. Sandhu2, P.J. La Riviere1, (1) The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, (2) Santec Systems Inc., Arlington Heights, Illinois


WE-F-708-7 (Wednesday, August 2, 2017) 1:45 PM - 3:45 PM Room: 708

Purpose: To investigate the feasibility of lesion characterization during routine breast cancer screening using an acousto-optic (AO) transmission ultrasound imaging system.

Methods: A full-field, single-projection ultrasound imaging system employing a high-resolution liquid crystal ultrasonic detector was developed. The detector converts the acoustic intensity transmitted through the compressed breast into a visual image by virtue of the AO effect in nematic liquid crystals. A validated system model, which accounts for the propagation of the incident plane-wave acoustic field through the breast and the conversion of the transmitted acoustic field intensity into an optical brightness distribution, was used to perform a simulated lesion characterization study. In this study, tissue-equivalent numerical breast phantoms consisting of skin, subcutaneous fat, fibroglandular tissue, and pathological breast tissue were constructed to assess the ability of the prototype system to differentiate cystic lesions from malignant masses.

Results: Due to the comparable attenuation coefficients of malignant and fibroglandular breast tissue (0.570 dB/MHz^1.3/cm and 0.870 dB/MHz^1.5/cm, respectively) over the range of usable transducer source frequencies (< 6 MHz), variations in parenchymal sound speed result in acoustic refraction artifacts that obscure the visibility of cancerous lesions. However, because of the substantially lower attenuation coefficient of cyst fluid (0.002 dB/MHz^2/cm), cystic lesions in the size range initially observed on screening mammograms can still be visualized.

Conclusion: AO ultrasound imaging provides a prospective method to differentiate cystic lesions from solid breast masses detected with mammography. A full-field, operator-independent ultrasound breast image can be acquired in a single acquisition using this technique, making AO imaging practical for incorporation into routine breast cancer screening efforts. The identification of cystic, and therefore benign, breast lesions at the time of screening would alleviate patient anxiety in the interim between the initial mammography screening exam and the conventional ultrasound exam currently performed after callback.

Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: Department of Defense (DoD) Breast Cancer Research Program IDEA Award W81XWH-11-1-0332; National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) Training Grant 5T32EB002103-24

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