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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2000 Dec;175(6):1585-9.

Tumor vascularity of breast lesions: potentials and limits of contrast-enhanced Doppler sonography.

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All authors: Röntgenabteilung, Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Herdecke, Universität Witten-Herdecke, Beckweg 4, 58313 Herdecke, Germany.



We investigated improving the evaluation of benignity in breast lesions using Doppler sonography with galactose palmitic acid-coated microbubbles.


In 77 patients with 84 breast tumors scheduled for surgical tumor removal, color-coded duplex sonography was performed before and after administration of Levovist. Of the 77 patients, 25 with 28 lesions had been treated for prior breast carcinoma. The parameters investigated were the following: degree of enhancement, number of tumor vessels, time to maximum enhancement, and the pattern of vascular morphology and course.


Findings in malignant tumors (n = 53) showed a greater number of vessels and a faster stronger enhancement after Levovist administration, whereas a definite partial overlap with results from benign tumors (n = 31) was found. The best distinction was produced by vascular morphology and course, with a sensitivity of 90% and a specificity of 81 %. In 23 of the 25 patients who previously underwent surgery, a clear distinction was possible between a postoperative scar (n = 11) and a tumor recurrence (n = 17).


Although administration of the contrast agent clearly improved evaluation of benign features on Doppler sonography, absolute certainty cannot be achieved. The feasibility of making an otherwise difficult distinction between a scar and tumor recurrence on sonography and mammography appears to be promising, but further studies are necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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