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Special Ultrasound Accurately Identifies Skin Cancer
Date:11/30/2009

but by measuring their elasticity or stiffness. Since malignancies are stiffer than benign growths, elastography, when added to high-frequency ultrasound imaging of the skin, has potential to improve the accuracy of traditional clinical diagnosis of skin cancers and, in some cases, eliminate unnecessary biopsies of benign skin lesions. The procedure is noninvasive, convenient and inexpensive.

For the study, researchers used an ultra high-frequency ultrasound system to image 40 patients with a variety of malignant and nonmalignant, or benign, skin lesions. Malignant tumors included squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. Benign lesions included dermatofibroma, a noncancerous growth containing scar tissue, and lipoma, a noncancerous tumor composed of fatty tissue.

The researchers calculated the ratio of elasticity between normal skin and the adjacent skin lesion, and used laboratory analysis to confirm their diagnoses. Cystic lesions, which are not malignant, demonstrated high levels of elasticity, while malignant lesions were significantly less elastic. The elasticity ratio of normal skin to the various skin lesions ranged from 0.04 to 0.3 for cystic skin lesions to above 10.0 for malignant lesions.

In addition, high-frequency ultrasound with elastography allows for accurate characterization of the extent and depth of the lesion below the surface, which can aid physicians in treatment.

"The visualized portion of a skin lesion can be just the tip of the iceberg, and most dermatologists operate 'blindly' beyond what they can see on the surface," Dr. Siegel said. "High-frequency ultrasound provides almost microscopic resolution and enables us to get size, shape and extent of the lesion prior to biopsy."

Note: Copies of RSNA 2009 news releases and electronic images will be available online at RSNA.org/press09 beginning Monday, Nov. 30.

RSNA is an association of more than 44,00
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SOURCE Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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