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28 April 2004 Quantitative description of solid breast nodules by ultrasound imaging
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Various features based on qualitative description of shape, contour, margin and echogenicity of solid breast nodules are used clinically to classify them as benign or malignant. However, there continues to be considerable overlap in the sonographic findings for the two types of lesions. This is related to the lack of precise definition of the various features as well as to the lack of agreement among observers, among other factors. The goal of this investigation is to define clinical features quantitatively and evaluate if they differ significantly in malignant and benign cases. Features based on margin sharpness and continuity, shadowing, and attenuation were defined and calculated from the images. These features were tested on digital phantoms. Following the evaluation, the features were measured on 116 breast sonograms of 58 biopsy-proven masses. Biopsy had been recommended for all of these breast lesions based on physical exams and conventional diagnostic imaging of ultrasound and/or mammography. Of the 58 masses, 20 were identified as malignant and 38 as benign histologically. Margin sharpness, margin echogenicity, and angular margin variation were significantly different for the two groups (p<0.03, two-tailed student t-test). Shadowing and attenuation of ultrasound did not show significant difference. The results of this preliminary study show that quantitative margin characteristics measured for the malignant and benign masses from the ultrasound images are different and could potentially be useful in identifying a subgroup of solid breast nodules that have low risk of being malignant.
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Chandra M. Sehgal, Sarah A. Kangas, Ted W. Cary, Susan P. Weinstein, Susan M. Schultz, Peter H. Arger, and Emily F. Conant "Quantitative description of solid breast nodules by ultrasound imaging", Proc. SPIE 5373, Medical Imaging 2004: Ultrasonic Imaging and Signal Processing, (28 April 2004);

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