Washington, Oct 22 : Radiologists can now use three-dimensional (3-D) power Doppler ultrasound to differentiate between malignant and benign breast cancer cells, according to a new study.
Usually, malignant breast masses have increased blood flow compared to normal tissue or benign masses.
The study has found that using 3-D power Doppler ultrasound can make it is possible to detect vessels with higher flow speeds, which likely indicate cancer.
"Using 3-D scans promises greater accuracy due to more consistent sampling over the entire tumor," said lead author, Gerald L. LeCarpentier, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Radiology at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
He added: "Our study shows that 3-D power Doppler ultrasound may be useful in the evaluation of some breast masses."
The study was conducted on 78 women between the age group of 26-70 years, who were scheduled for biopsy of a suspicious breast mass.
All the women had to undergo a 3-D Doppler ultrasound exam, followed by core or excisional biopsy of the breast.
The researchers observed that 3-D power Doppler ultrasound was quite accurate in identifying malignant breast tumors.
When combined with age-based assessment and gray scale visual analysis, 3-D Doppler showed a sensitivity of 100 per cent in identifying cancerous tumours and a specificity of 86 per cent in excluding benign tumours.
"Using speed-weighted 3-D power Doppler ultrasound, higher flow velocities in the malignant tumor-feeding vessels may be detected, whereas vessels with slower flow velocities in surrounding benign masses may be excluded," said LeCarpentier.
The study will be published in the November issue of Radiology.