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Eur Radiol. 2013 Sep;23(9):2432-40. doi: 10.1007/s00330-013-2854-6. Epub 2013 May 15.

Shear-wave elastography in the diagnosis of solid breast masses: what leads to false-negative or false-positive results?

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  • 1Department of Radiology, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, School of Medicine, 351 Yatapdong, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, 463-712, South Korea.



To investigate the factors that have an effect on false-positive or false-negative shear-wave elastography (SWE) results in solid breast masses.


From June to December 2012, 222 breast lesions of 199 consecutive women (mean age: 45.3 ± 10.1 years; range, 21 to 88 years) who had been scheduled for biopsy or surgical excision were included. Greyscale ultrasound and SWE were performed in all women before biopsy. Final ultrasound assessments and SWE parameters (pattern classification and maximum elasticity) were recorded and compared with histopathology results. Patient and lesion factors in the 'true' and 'false' groups were compared.


Of the 222 masses, 175 (78.8 %) were benign, and 47 (21.2 %) were malignant. False-positive rates of benign masses were significantly higher than false-negative rates of malignancy in SWE patterns, 36.6 % to 6.4 % (P < 0.001). Among both benign and malignant masses, factors showing significance among false SWE features were lesion size, breast thickness and lesion depth (all P < 0.05). All 47 malignant breast masses had SWE images of good quality.


False SWE features were more significantly seen in benign masses. Lesion size, breast thickness and lesion depth have significance in producing false results, and this needs consideration in SWE image acquisition.


• Shear-wave elastography (SWE) is widely used during breast imaging • At SWE, false-positive rates were significantly higher than false-negative rates • Larger size, breast thickness, depth and fair quality influences false-positive SWE features • Smaller size, larger breast thickness and depth influences false-negative SWE features.

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