Abstract

Worldwide, yearly about 450,000 women die from the consequences of breast cancer. Current imaging modalities are not optimal in discriminating benign from malignant tissue. Visualizing the malignancy-associated increased hemoglobin concentration might significantly improve early diagnosis of breast cancer. Since photoacoustic imaging can visualize hemoglobin in tissue with optical contrast and ultrasound-like resolution, it is potentially an ideal method for early breast cancer imaging.

The Twente Photoacoustic Mammoscope (PAM) has been developed specifically for breast imaging. Recently, a large clinical study has been started in the Medisch Spectrum Twente in Oldenzaal using PAM. In PAM, the breast is slightly compressed between a window for laser light illumination and a flat array ultrasound detector. The measurements are performed using a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser, pulsed at 1064 nm and a 1 MHz unfocused ultrasound detector array. Three-dimensional data are reconstructed using a delay and sum reconstruction algorithm. Those reconstructed images are compared with conventional imaging and histopathology. In the first phase of the study 12 patients with a malignant lesion and 2 patients with a benign cyst have been measured. The results are used to guide developments in photoacoustic mammography in order to pave the way towards an optimal technique for early diagnosis of breast cancer.

© 2011 OSA/SPIE

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