Radiologists involved in breast cancer treatment could benefit from using a new ultrasound technique to distinguish between benign and malignant lesions, according to new research.
Elasticity imaging, a modification of a routine ultrasound scan, has enabled Ohio researchers to correctly identify cancerous and harmless lesions in nearly all of the cases involved in the study.
The imaging technique is non-invasive, requiring no needles, and gauges the extent to which tissue moves when it is pushed.
Dr Richard Barr, radiologist at Southwoods X-Ray and MRI in Youngstown and professor at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, said that the technique "has been found to have high specificity".
Dr Barr performed biopsies on 80 patients with 123 lesions which had been studied using elasticity imaging.
The biopsy results revealed that all 17 malignant lesions and 105 out of 106 benign lesions had been correctly identified using the new ultrasound technique.
"If our results can be reproduced in a large, multi-centre trial, this technique could significantly reduce the number of breast biopsies required…and increase the confidence of women that a detected lesion is truly benign," Dr Barr added.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)