Ultrasensitive Ultrasound Microvessel Imaging for Characterizing Benign and Malignant Breast Tumors

Ping Gong, Pengfei Song, Chengwu Huang, U. Wai Lok, Shanshan Tang, Yue Yu, Duane D. Meixner, Kathryn J. Ruddy, Karthik Ghosh, Robert T. Fazzio, Wenwu Ling, Shigao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Tumor angiogenesis plays an important role during breast tumor growth. However, conventional Doppler has limited sensitivity to detect small blood vessels, resulting in a large overlap of Doppler features between benign and malignant tumors. An ultrasensitive ultrasound microvessel imaging (UMI) technique was recently developed. To evaluate the performance of UMI, we studied 44 patients with 51 breast masses. Tumor pathology served as the gold standard: 28 malignancies and 23 benignities. UMI provided a significant improvement in depicting smaller vessels compared with conventional Doppler. The microvessel morphologies observed on UMI were associated with tumor benign/malignant classification. The diagnostic accuracy of correct Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) classification rate (BI-RADS ≥4a: test positive; BI-RADS ≤3: test negative) as a fraction of total mass population was improved by 16% after combining conventional ultrasound with UMI compared with using conventional ultrasound alone. This improvement indicates the potential of UMI in reducing unnecessary benign biopsies and avoiding missed malignant biopsies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3128-3136
Number of pages9
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Breast tumor differentiation
  • Doppler sensitivity
  • Microvessel imaging
  • Tumor angiogenesis
  • Ultrafast ultrasound imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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