Anisotropy of solid breast lesions in 2D shear wave elastography is an indicator of malignancy

Katrin Skerl (Lead / Corresponding author), Sarah Vinnicombe, Kim Thomson, Denis McLean, Elisabetta Giannotti, Andrew Evans

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    RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: To investigate if anisotropy at two-dimensional shear wave elastography (SWE) suggests malignancy and whether it correlates with prognostic and predictive factors in breast cancer.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: Study group A of 244 solid breast lesions was imaged with SWE between April 2013 and May 2014. Each lesion was imaged in radial and in antiradial planes, and the maximum elasticity, mean elasticity, and standard deviation were recorded and correlated with benign/malignant status, and if malignant, correlated with conventional predictive and prognostic factors. The results were compared to a study group B of 968 solid breast lesions, which were imaged in sagittal and in axial planes between 2010 and 2013.

    RESULTS: Neither benign nor malignant lesion anisotropy is plane dependent. However, malignant lesions are more anisotropic than benign lesions (P ≤ 0.001). Anisotropy correlates with increasing elasticity parameters, breast imaging-reporting and data system categories, core biopsy result, and tumor grade. Large cancers are significantly more anisotropic than small cancers (P ≤ 0.001). The optimal anisotropy cutoff threshold for benign/malignant differentiation of 150 kPa(2) achieves the best sensitivity (74%) with a reasonable specificity (63%).

    CONCLUSIONS: Anisotropy may be useful during benign/malignant differentiation of solid breast masses using SWE. Anisotropy also correlates with some prognostic factors in breast cancer.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)53-61
    Number of pages9
    JournalAcademic Radiology
    Issue number1
    Early online date10 Nov 2015
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


    • Elastography
    • Breast
    • Breast cancer
    • Ultrasound
    • Shear wave elastography


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