"Breast Ultrasound Volume Sweep Imaging: a New Horizon in Expanding Imaging Access for Breast Cancer Detection"

July 8, 2022

A paper co-authored by Professor Kevin Parker and collaborators from URMC (Thomas Marini, Radha Iyer, Timothy M. Baran, Omar Nemer, Ann Dozier, Yu Zhao, William Serratelli, Gregory Matos, Shania Ali, Bishoy Ghobryal, Adam Visca, Avice O'Connell) and Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Benjamin Castaneda) titled "Breast ultrasound volume sweep imaging: a new horizon in expanding imaging access for breast cancer detection" has been published in the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine. The abstract follows, and more information can be found here.

Abstract: The majority of people in the world lack basic access to breast diagnostic imaging resulting in delay to diagnosis of breast cancer. In this study, we tested a volume sweep imaging (VSI) ultrasound protocol for evaluation of palpable breast lumps that can be performed by operators after minimal training without prior ultrasound experience as a means to increase accessibility to breast ultrasound. Medical students without prior ultrasound experience were trained for less than 2 hours on the VSI breast ultrasound protocol. Patients presenting with palpable breast lumps for standard of care ultrasound examination were scanned by a trained medical student with the VSI protocol using a Butterfly iQ handheld ultrasound probe. Video clips of the VSI scan imaging were later interpreted by an attending breast imager. Results of VSI scan interpretation were compared to the same-day standard of care ultrasound examination. Medical students scanned 170 palpable lumps with the VSI protocol. There was 97% sensitivity and 100% specificity for a breast mass on VSI corresponding to 97.6% agreement with standard of care (Cohen's κ = 0.95, P < .0001). There was a detection rate of 100% for all cancer presenting as a sonographic mass. High agreement for mass characteristics between VSI and standard of care was observed, including 87% agreement on Breast Imaging-Reporting and Data System assessments (Cohen's κ = 0.82, P < .0001). Breast ultrasound VSI for palpable lumps offers a promising means to increase access to diagnostic imaging in underserved areas. This approach could decrease delay to diagnosis for breast cancer, potentially improving morbidity and mortality.