Imaging Technique May Reduce Need for Follow-Up Breast Cancer Surgery

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 2, 2014

The researchers' new breast imaging approach will be tested in the AMIGO suite.

Currently, up to 40 percent of patients undergoing breast-conserving surgery to treat cancer require re-operation because of a failure to remove all of the cancerous tissue during the initial operation. Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) researchers, however, have successfully tested an innovative tissue imaging approach that accurately distinguishes cancerous breast tissue from normal breast tissue and precisely defines the margins between the two – an advance that could significantly decrease the need for follow-up surgery.

The tool the researchers used for their study is called desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) mass spectrometry imaging, a technology that allows physicians and researchers to promptly evaluate human tissue. It works by electrically charging (ionizing) molecules in a tissue sample through the application of a microscopic stream of solvent. The mass of these ionized molecules is then measured and their distribution within the tissue is mapped.

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Getting the Whole Picture: 3-D Mammography Improves Breast Cancer Detection

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 28, 2013

3-D mammography, compared to traditional imaging, offers a clearer view of breast tissue.

Why are radiologists so enthusiastic about 3-D mammography (digital breast tomosynthesis), a new imaging technology for diagnosing breast cancer?

The simple answer is that it could help save thousands of lives each year.

3-D mammography, compared to traditional two-dimensional imaging, offers a clearer view of the dense tissue within a woman’s breast. Specifically, it enables radiologists to see tumors when they are very small and differentiate them from abnormalities that look like tumors but are usually benign, such as micro-calcifications (calcium deposits) or cysts. When radiologists are able to identify malignant tumors at this early stage, it usually means that the cancer has been found before it has spread to other parts of the body.

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