Ultrasonographic Detection and Surgical Retrieval of a Nonmetallic Twinkle Marker in Breast Cancer: Pilot Study

James W. Jakub, Gina K. Hesley, Nicholas B. Larson, Michael J. Yaszemski, A. Lee Miller, James F. Greenleaf, Matthew W. Urban, Christine U. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate the short-term safety of a nonmetallic twinkle marker and compare its conspicuity at color Doppler US with that of standard breast biopsy clips and radioactive seeds by using B-mode US in axillary lymph nodes. Materials and Methods: This prospective study (November 2020–July 2021) of participants with node-positive breast cancer who com-pleted chemotherapy involved placing a twinkle marker at the time of preoperative radioactive seed localization. A five-point scoring system (1 = easiest, 5 = most difficult) was used to rate the ease of identifying the clip, seed, and twinkle marker on postlocalization sonograms, mammograms, specimen radiographs, and gross pathologic specimens. Descriptive statistics were used. Results: Eight women (mean age, 57 years ± 16 [SD]) were enrolled. The median scores for US conspicuity of each device were 3.9 (range, 3.7–5.0) for the radioactive seed, 2.4 (range, 1.0–5.0) for the clip, and 2.0 (range, 1.0–4.3) for the twinkle marker. In six of eight participants, the twinkle marker was the most identifiable at US. The seeds, clips, and twinkle markers were scored “very easy” to identify on seven of eight postlocalization mammograms. The surgeon retrieved all eight twinkle markers 1–3 days after localization. In all 16 interpretations, the seeds, clips, and twinkle markers were rated as very easy to identify on specimen radiographs. The clip was the most difficult device to identify at pathologic examination in all participants, and the twinkle marker was the easiest to identify in seven of eight participants. Conclusion: This pilot study demonstrates that the safety and ease of US detection of a twinkling tissue marker may be comparable to a biopsy clip.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere220053
JournalRadiology: Imaging Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Breast
  • Localization
  • Surgery
  • US-Doppler
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Oncology


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