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Evaluation of breast stiffness measured by ultrasound and breast density measured by MRI using a prone-supine deformation model

  • Chen, Jeon-Hor
  • Chan, Siwa
  • Zhang, Yang
  • Li, Shunshan
  • Chang, Ruey-Feng
  • Su, Min-Ying
Published Article
Biomarker Research
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Sep 11, 2019
DOI: 10.1186/s40364-019-0171-1
Springer Nature


BackgroundThis study evaluated breast tissue stiffness measured by ultrasound elastography and the percent breast density measured by magnetic resonance imaging to understand their relationship.MethodsMagnetic resonance imaging and whole breast ultrasound were performed in 20 patients with suspicious lesions. Only the contralateral normal breasts were analyzed. Breast tissue stiffness was measured from the echogenic homogeneous fibroglandular tissues in the central breast area underneath the nipple. An automatic, computer algorithm-based, segmentation method was used to segment the whole breast and fibroglandular tissues on three dimensional magnetic resonanceimaging. A finite element model was applied to deform the prone magnetic resonance imaging to match the supine ultrasound images, by using the inversed gravity loaded transformation. After deformation, the tissue level used in ultrasound elastography measurement could be estimated on the deformed supine magnetic resonance imaging to measure the breast density in the corresponding tissue region.ResultsThe mean breast tissue stiffness was 2.3 ± 0.8 m/s. The stiffness was not correlated with age (r = 0.29). Overall, there was no positive correlation between breast stiffness and breast volume (r = − 0.14), or the whole breast percent density (r = − 0.09). There was also no correlation between breast stiffness and the local percent density measured from the corresponding region (r = − 0.12).ConclusionsThe lack of correlation between breast stiffness measured by ultrasound and the whole breast or local percent density measured by magnetic resonance imaging suggests that breast stiffness is not solely related to the amount of fibroglandular tissue. Further studies are needed to investigate whether they are dependent or independent cancer risk factors.

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