• breast lesion;
  • real-time elastography;
  • ultrasound



To evaluate whether real-time elastography, a new, non-invasive method for the diagnosis of breast cancer, improves the differentiation and characterization of benign and malignant breast lesions.


Real-time elastography was carried out in 108 potential breast tumor patients with cytologically or histologically confirmed focal breast lesions (59 benign, 49 malignant; median age, 53.9 years; range, 16–84 years). Tumor and healthy tissue were differentiated by measurement of elasticity based on the correlation between tissue properties and elasticity modulus. Evaluation was performed using the three-dimensional (3D) finite element method, in which the information is color-coded and superimposed on the B-mode ultrasound image. A second observer evaluated the elastography images, in order to improve the objectivity of the method. The results of B-mode scan and elastography were compared with those of histology and previous sonographic findings. Sensitivities and specificities were calculated, taking histology as the gold standard.


B-mode ultrasound had a sensitivity of 91.8% and a specificity of 78%, compared with sensitivities of 77.6% and 79.6% and specificities of 91.5% and 84.7%, respectively, for the two observers evaluating elastography. Agreement between B-mode ultrasound and elastography was good, yielding a weighted kappa of 0.67.


Our initial clinical results suggest that real-time elastography improves the specificity of breast lesion diagnosis and is a promising new approach for the diagnosis of breast cancer. Elastography provides additional information for differentiating malignant BI-RADS (breast imaging reporting and data system) category IV lesions. Copyright © 2006 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.