Faculty of Science and Technology
Biomedical Photonic Imaging
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
Telephone: +31 53 489 3877
Fax: +31 53 489 1105
Technical Medicine (mastertrack Robotics and Imaging) - University of Twente
Photoacoustic Mammography- clinical data acquisition, analysis and interpretation (HYMPACT)
Start date: September 15th, 2009
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of female cancer worldwide. There are major limitations to the current imaging techniques that are used for diagnosing breast cancer. There is no single technique that combines an excellent sensitivity with a good specificity, an appropriate resolution and a high imaging contrast and that can be used in the whole adult female population. Furthermore, of the conventional imaging techniques, X-ray mammography uses potential hazardous ionizing radiation and MRI requires injection of contrast agents. In the last years, researchers from our group have made progress in the development of a new technique for breast cancer imaging: photoacoustic mammography. This technique combines the high contrast of optical imaging with the good resolution of ultrasound. Besides, the contrast is based on functional processes (tumour angiogenesis) and provides, in theory, a higher sensitivity and specificity than X-ray mammography and ultrasonography. Photoacoustic imaging does neither require ionising radiation nor contrast agents. Besides, it is expected that the imaging is not influenced by the density of the breast. The clinical feasibility of the first generation photoacoustic mammography (PAM I) has been tested with realistic breast phantoms and in a clinical pilot study. We are now at the stage that a lot of clinical data is needed in order to guide the developments of this technique and to find photoacoustic markers that are indicative for malignancy.
Clinical studies with PAM I are planned to start in December 2010 and to last for 2 years. The study will be performed at the Centre for Mammacare of the Medisch Spectrum Twente hospital (MST) in Oldenzaal. The photoacoustic images will be compared with conventional imaging (X-ray, ultrasonography and/ or MRI) and pathology results. The primary aims of the study are: to investigate the feasibility of photoacoustic breast cancer imaging with PAM I; to find photoacoustic markers that are indicative for malignancy; and to guide the technological development of the second generation photoacoustic mammoscope (PAM II) .
Figure 1: Invasive ductal carcinoma visualised with three different imaging modalities. a) Cracniocaudal x-ray mammography shows architectural distortion with spiculations, b) Transverse sonographic image shows a 17 mm hypoechoic mass, c) Craniocaudal photoacoustic image reveals high intensity regions attributed to tumour vascularisation.
Picture obtained from: Manohar 2007, Initial results of in-vivo non-invasive cancer imaging in the human breast using near-infrared photoacoustics, Optics Express, vol. 15, no. 19, pp. 12277-12285.