Breast density measurements using ultrasound tomography for patients undergoing tamoxifen treatment

Mark Sak, Neb Duric, Peter Littrup, Cuiping Li, Lisa Bey-Knight, Mark Sherman, Norman Boyd, Gretchen Gierach

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations


Women with high breast density have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Women treated with the selective estrogen receptor modulator tamoxifen for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer experience a 50% reduction in risk of contralateral breast cancer and overall reduction of similar magnitude has been identified among high-risk women receiving the drug for prevention. Tamoxifen has been shown to reduce mammographic density, and in the IBIS-1 chemoprevention trial, risk reduction and decline in density were significantly associated. Ultrasound tomography (UST) is an imaging modality that can create tomographic sound speed images of the breast. These sound speed images are useful because breast density is proportional to sound speed. The aim of this work is to examine the relationship between UST-measured breast density and the use of tamoxifen. So far, preliminary results for a small number of patients have been observed and are promising. Correlations between the UST-measured density and mammographic density are strong and positive, while relationships between UST density with some patient specific risk factors behave as expected. Initial results of UST examinations of tamoxifen treated patients show that approximately 45% of the patients have a decrease in density in the contralateral breast after only several months of treatment. The true effect of tamoxifen on UST-measured density cannot yet be fully determined until more data are collected. However, these promising results suggest that UST can be used to reliably assess quantitative changes in breast density over short intervals and therefore suggest that UST may enable rapid assessment of density changes associated with therapeutic and preventative interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2013
Subtitle of host publicationUltrasonic Imaging, Tomography, and Therapy
StatePublished - 2013
EventMedical Imaging 2013: Ultrasonic Imaging, Tomography, and Therapy - Lake Buena Vista, FL, United States
Duration: Feb 12 2013Feb 14 2013

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherMedical Imaging 2013: Ultrasonic Imaging, Tomography, and Therapy
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLake Buena Vista, FL


  • Breast density
  • Tamoxifen
  • Ultrasound tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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