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Phys Med Biol. 2006 May 21;51(10):2367-81. Epub 2006 Apr 26.

Volume measurement variability in three-dimensional high-frequency ultrasound images of murine liver metastases.

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  • 1Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 5B9, Canada.


The identification and quantification of tumour volume measurement variability is imperative for proper study design of longitudinal non-invasive imaging of pre-clinical mouse models of cancer. Measurement variability will dictate the minimum detectable volume change, which in turn influences the scheduling of imaging sessions and the interpretation of observed changes in tumour volume. In this paper, variability is quantified for tumour volume measurements from 3D high-frequency ultrasound images of murine liver metastases. Experimental B16F1 liver metastases were analysed in different size ranges including less than 1 mm3, 1-4 mm3, 4-8 mm3 and 8-70 mm3. The intra- and inter-observer repeatability was high over a large range of tumour volumes, but the coefficients of variation (COV) varied over the volume ranges. The minimum and maximum intra-observer COV were 4% and 14% for the 1-4 mm3 and <1 mm3 tumours, respectively. For tumour volumes measured by segmenting parallel planes, the maximum inter-slice distance that maintained acceptable measurement variability increased from 100 to 600 microm as tumour volume increased. Comparison of free breathing versus ventilated animals demonstrated that respiratory motion did not significantly change the measured volume. These results enable design of more efficient imaging studies by using the measured variability to estimate the time required to observe a significant change in tumour volume.

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