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Ultrasound Med Biol. 1998 Sep;24(7):945-52.

3-D color Doppler image quantification of breast masses.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0553, USA.


In this article, new measures obtained from color Doppler images are introduced and a pilot study is described, in which these and previously published indices are evaluated for use in future work. Twenty women with breast masses observed on mammography and going to surgical biopsy were studied. Of the masses, 11 proved to be benign and 9 were malignant. Both 3-D mean frequency shift (f-CDI) and power mode Doppler (p-CDI) imaging were performed. To identify the mass and other regions of interest, vessels were displayed as rotatable 3-D color volumes, superimposed on selectable grey-scale/color flow slices. Doppler signals were recorded in each of 6 ellipsoidal regions of interest in and around the mass and 2 in normal tissues. Seven measures were computed in each region, three from power mode, two from mean frequency and two from combinations of both. Radiologists rated the grey-scale appearances of the masses on a scale of 1 to 5 (5=most suspicious) for each of 6 conventional grey-scale criteria. Of the individual vascularity measures in individual ROIs, the log speed-weighted pixel density and log power-weighted pixel density in the lesion internal periphery showed the greatest discrimination of malignancy, although neither was statistically significant nor as good as the peak variables described below. The mean visual grey-scale rating was the best discriminator overall, but two peak vascularity measures each made promising scatterplots in conjunction with the average visual grey-scale rating. These two vascularity measures were the log peak normalized power-weighted pixel density (peak NPD) and log of peak mean Doppler frequency times the peak NPD (vM x NPD(M)). Each of these two values was the maximum in any one of the five chosen ROIs closely associated with the mass. A possible rationale for the relative success of these peak values is the blood signal's normalization and the inhomogeneity of most breast cancers and the expectation that the highest velocities (shunting) and largest collections of blood are not necessarily in the same region in and around the tumor. Peak NPD of cancers varied with age, decreasing by a factor of 45 from 33 to 77 y.

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