Light Sensor Improves Breast Biopsies
Reported April 5, 2005
ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — A new study shows an improvement in needle breast biopsies aids in more precise detection of breast cancer and reduces unnecessary removal of normal breast tissue.
The study, presented at the 25th annual meeting of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery in Orlando, Fla., shows the use of low-power ultraviolet and visible light source in conjunction with needle biopsy helps in distinguishing between malignant and non-malignant breast tissue.
Lead researcher Changfang Zhu, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, explains needle biopsy is fast and cost-efficient but has limited sampling accuracy. She says 80 percent of breast biopsies are benign, meaning they are unnecessary.
“One limitation of the current needle biopsy procedure is that while radiologists can take up to a dozen tissue samples, they can’t tell which samples are cancerous until they are removed and tested in the lab. The goal of this optical sensor device is to diagnose tissue samples before they are removed,” explains Nirmala Ramanujam, Ph.D., advisor to Zhu’s team.
The new optical device used by Zhu and her team includes a light-based probe that is inserted into the hollow part of a biopsy needle. It works by illuminating the breast tissue and collecting data that is then analyzed by the device. The data that is collected is how the light interacts with tissue. Zhu explains there are three interactions: fluorescence, absorption and scattering. Cancerous changes in tissue can affect these light-tissue interactions. Preliminary results show this technique discriminated between malignant and non-malignant breast tissues with an overall accuracy of more than 85 percent.
“Although the device is years away from practical use, we are optimistic that one day it will be an important tool in detecting future breast cancers,” Ramanujam concludes. Zhu says larger-scale trials are underway.
SOURCE: Amanda Jackson at the 25th annual meeting of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery in Orlando, Fla., March 30-April 3, 2005