Background Shear wave imaging (SWI) is a new ultrasound technique whose application facilitates quantitative tissue elasticity assessment during transrectal ultrasound biopsies of the prostate gland. The aim of this study was to determine whether SWI quantitative data can differentiate between benign and malignant areas within prostate glands in men suspected of prostate cancer (PCa).
Methods We conducted a protocol-based, prospective, prebiopsy quantitative SWI of prostate glands in 50 unscreened men suspected of prostate cancer between July 2011 and May 2012. The ultrasound image of whole prostate gland was arbitrarily divided into 12 zones for sampling biopsies, as is carried out in routine clinical practice. Each region was imaged by grey scale and SWI imaging techniques. Each region was further biopsied irrespective of findings of grey scale or SWI on ultrasound. Additional biopsies were taken if SWI abnormal area was felt to be outside of these 12 zones. Quantitative assessment of SWI abnormal areas was obtained in kilopascals (kPa) from abnormal regions shown by SWI and compared with histopathology. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and likelihood ratios were calculated for SWI (histopathology was a reference standard). Results
Fifty patients, with a mean age of 69 ± 6.2 years, were recruited into the study. Thirty-three (66 %) patients were diagnosed with PCa, while an additional
4 (8 %) had atypia in at least one of the 12 prostate biopsies. Thirteen (26 %) patients had a benign biopsy. Data analysed per core for SWI findings showed that for patients with PSA <20 µg/L, the sensitivity and specificity of SWI for PCa detection were 0.9 and 0.88, respectively, while in patients with PSA >20 µg/L, the sensitivity and specificity were 0.93 and 0.93, respectively. In addition, PCa had significantly higher stiffness values compared to benign tissues (p <0.05), with a trend toward stiffness differences in different Gleason grades.
Conclusion SWI provides quantitative assessment of the prostatic tissues and, in our preliminary observation, provides better diagnostic accuracy than grey-scale ultrasound imaging.