Measurement of breast tissue composition with dual energy cone-beam computed tomography: A postmortem study

Authors


Abstract

Purpose:

To investigate the feasibility of a three-material compositional measurement of water, lipid, and protein content of breast tissue with dual kVp cone-beam computed tomography (CT) for diagnostic purposes.

Methods:

Simulations were performed on a flat panel-based computed tomography system with a dual kVp technique in order to guide the selection of experimental acquisition parameters. The expected errors induced by using the proposed calibration materials were also estimated by simulation. Twenty pairs of postmortem breast samples were imaged with a flat-panel based dual kVp cone-beam CT system, followed by image-based material decomposition using calibration data obtained from a three-material phantom consisting of water, vegetable oil, and polyoxymethylene plastic. The tissue samples were then chemically decomposed into their respective water, lipid, and protein contents after imaging to allow direct comparison with data from dual energy decomposition.

Results:

Guided by results from simulation, the beam energies for the dual kVp cone-beam CT system were selected to be 50 and 120 kVp with the mean glandular dose divided equally between each exposure. The simulation also suggested that the use of polyoxymethylene as the calibration material for the measurement of pure protein may introduce an error of −11.0%. However, the tissue decomposition experiments, which employed a calibration phantom made out of water, oil, and polyoxymethylene, exhibited strong correlation with data from the chemical analysis. The average root-mean-square percentage error for water, lipid, and protein contents was 3.58% as compared with chemical analysis.

Conclusions:

The results of this study suggest that the water, lipid, and protein contents can be accurately measured using dual kVp cone-beam CT. The tissue compositional information may improve the sensitivity and specificity for breast cancer diagnosis.

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