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Optoacoustic Technology Enhances Breast Cancer Diagnostics

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 18 Feb 2021
An innovative breast cancer imaging system combines ultrasound (US) and optoacoustics (OA) to help differentiate between benign and malignant breast lesions.

The Seno Medical Instruments (Seno; San Antonio, TX, USA) Imagio OA/US system is indicated for use by trained and qualified healthcare providers to evaluate palpable and non-palpable breast abnormalities in adult patients who are referred for diagnostic imaging breast work-up, following clinical presentation or other imaging examinations such as screening mammography. Imagio uses laser optics and grayscale ultrasound to provide fused, functional, and anatomical breast imaging.

Image: A novel breast imaging system fuses optoacoustics and ultrasound (Photo courtesy of Seno Medical)
Image: A novel breast imaging system fuses optoacoustics and ultrasound (Photo courtesy of Seno Medical)

The OA images provide a unique blood map in and around breast masses, while US provides a traditional anatomical image. Through the appearance (or absence) of two hallmark cancer indicators, angiogenesis and deoxygenation, radiologists can confirm or rule out malignancy, without necessitating the use of ionizing radiation (x-rays) or contrast agents. In addition to imaging enhancement, Imagio also includes SenoGram, an artificial intelligence (AI) physician decision support tool that aids in the interpretation of the new images.

“Optimizing the diagnosis of breast masses requires a combination of very high sensitivity, over 98%, while simultaneously maximizing specificity and minimizing false positives and biopsies of benign masses,” said A. Thomas Stavros, MD, chief medical officer of Seno. “Other modalities have reported improvements in specificity, but these have often come at the expense of the desired high sensitivity.”

Optoacoustic imaging is an imaging modality that uses non-ionizing laser pulsing of biological tissues to initiate a photoacoustic effect, in which part of the energy is absorbed and converted into heat, leading to a transient thermoelastic expansion, which generates a wideband ultrasonic emission. As the optical absorption is closely associated with physiological properties--such as hemoglobin concentration and oxygen saturation--the photoacoustic signal, detected by ultrasonic transducers, is proportional to local energy deposition.

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