Malignant breast masses often exhibit increased blood flow compared to normal tissue or benign masses. Using 3-D power Doppler ultrasound, radiologists are able to detect vessels with higher flow speeds, which are likely to indicate cancer.
For the study, Dr. LeCarpentier and colleagues studied 78 women between the ages of 26 and 70 who where scheduled for biopsy of a suspicious breast mass. Each of the women underwent a 3-D Doppler ultrasound exam followed by core or excisional biopsy of the breast.
The results showed that 3-D power Doppler ultrasound was highly accurate in identifying malignant breast tumours. When combined with age-based assessment and grey scale visual analysis, 3-D Doppler showed a sensitivity of 100% in identifying cancerous tumours and a specificity of 86% in excluding benign tumours.
Dr LeCarpentier added, Using speed-weighted 3-D power Doppler ultrasound, higher flow velocities in the malignant tumour-feeding vessels may be detected, whereas vessels with slower flow velocities in surrounding benign masses may be excluded.