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Noninvasive combination technique may reduce number of breast biopsies
Date:6/21/2010

OAK BROOK, Ill. By combining two relatively inexpensive technologies based on sound and light waves, researchers hope to lower the rate at which women undergo breast biopsies for suspicious lesions. Results of the study on ultrasound-guided optical tomography are published in the online edition and the August print issue of Radiology.

"The goal of our study was to investigate the potential of diffuse optical tomography in the near infrared spectrum with ultrasound localization as a means of differentiating early-stage cancers from benign lesions of the breast," said lead researcher Quing Zhu, Ph.D., professor of bioengineering at the University of Connecticut.

When mammography and ultrasound cannot determine whether a suspicious breast lesion is malignant or benign, physicians typically recommend a needle biopsy to extract samples of the suspicious tissue for laboratory testing. In current clinical practice, 70 to 80 percent of biopsies performed reveal benign lesions, leading to unnecessary cost and anxiety for women.

Diffuse optical tomography is an emerging noninvasive imaging technique that measures light absorption within tissue to quantify blood content (hemoglobin level) and blood oxygen levels. Because cancerous lesions have many more blood vessels than normal tissue, hemoglobin levels can help distinguish malignant from benign lesions.

In Dr. Zhu's study, 178 consecutive women underwent ultrasound-guided diffuse optical tomography (DOT) on a previously identified solid lesion, followed by a biopsy. The study, which included women between the ages of 21 and 89 years, was conducted between 2004 and 2008 at the University of Connecticut Health Center and Hartford Hospital, both in Hartford, Conn.

Performing ultrasound-guided DOT involves the use of a handheld probe consisting of a commercial ultrasound transducer located in the middle and an optical source and detector fibers around the periphery. Onc
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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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