Spatiotemporal analysis of contrast-enhanced ultrasound for differentiating between malignant and benign breast lesions

Chuan Chen*, Simona Turco, Panagiotis Kapetas, Ritse Mann, Hessel Wijkstra, Chris de Korte, Massimo Mischi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: The aim of this study was to apply spatiotemporal analysis of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) loops to quantify the enhancement heterogeneity for improving the differentiation between benign and malignant breast lesions. Materials and methods: This retrospective study included 120 women (age range, 18–82 years; mean, 52 years) scheduled for ultrasound-guided biopsy. With the aid of brightness-mode images, the border of each breast lesion was delineated in the CEUS images. Based on visual evaluation and quantitative metrics, the breast lesions were categorized into four grades of different levels of contrast enhancement. Grade-1 (hyper-enhanced) and grade-2 (partly-enhanced) breast lesions were included in the analysis. Four parameters reflecting enhancement heterogeneity were estimated by spatiotemporal analysis of neighboring time-intensity curves (TICs). By setting the threshold on mean parameter, the diagnostic performance of the four parameters for differentiating benign and malignant lesions was evaluated. Results: Sixty-four of the 120 patients were categorized as grade 1 or 2 and used for estimating the four parameters. At the pixel level, mutual information and conditional entropy present significantly different values between the benign and malignant lesions (p < 0.001 in patients of grade 1, p = 0.002 in patients of grade 1 or 2). For the classification of breast lesions, mutual information produces the best diagnostic performance (AUC = 0.893 in patients of grade 1, AUC = 0.848 in patients of grade 1 or 2). Conclusions: The proposed spatiotemporal analysis for assessing the enhancement heterogeneity shows promising results to aid in the diagnosis of breast cancer by CEUS. Clinical relevance statement: The proposed spatiotemporal method can be developed as a standardized software to automatically quantify the enhancement heterogeneity of breast cancer on CEUS, possibly leading to the improved diagnostic accuracy of differentiation between benign and malignant lesions. Key Points: • Advanced spatiotemporal analysis of ultrasound contrast-enhanced loops for aiding the differentiation of malignant or benign breast lesions. • Four parameters reflecting the enhancement heterogeneity were estimated in the hyper- and partly-enhanced breast lesions by analyzing the neighboring pixel-level time-intensity curves. • For the classification of hyper-enhanced breast lesions, mutual information produces the best diagnostic performance (AUC = 0.893).

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean radiology
Early online date19 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 19 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Breast neoplasms
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Microbubbles
  • n/a OA procedure

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