Breast cancer is the most common life-threatening cancer in women worldwide. A high number of women are going through biopsy procedures for characterization of breast masses every day and yet 75% of the pathological results prove these masses to be benign. Ultrasound (US) elastography is a non-invasive technique that measures tissue stiffness. It is convenient for differentiating benign from malignant breast tumors. Our study aims to evaluate the role of qualitative ultrasound elastography scoring (ES), quantitative mass strain ratio (SR), and shear wave elasticity ratio (SWER) in differentiation between benign and malignant breast lesions.
Among 51 female patients with 77 histopathologically proved breast lesions, 57 breast masses were malignant and 20 were benign. All patients were examined by B-mode ultrasound then strain and shear wave elastographic examinations using ultrasound machine (Logiq E9, GE Medical Systems) with 8.5–12 MHz high-frequency probes. Our study showed that ES best cut-off point > 3 with sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPP, accuracy was 94.7%, 85%, 94.7%, 85%, 90.9%, respectively, and AUC = 0.926 at P < 0.001, mass SR the best cut-off point > 4.6 with sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPP, accuracy was 96.5%, 80%, 93.2%, 88.9%, 92.2%, respectively, and AUC = 0.860 at P < 0.001, SWER the best cut-off value > 4.9 with sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPP and accuracy was 91.2%, 80%, 92.9%, 76.2%, 93.5%, respectively, and AUC = 0.890 at P < 0.001. The mean mass strain ratio for malignant lesions is 10.1 ± 3.7 SD and for solid benign lesions 4.7 ± 4.3 SD (p value 0.001). The mean shear wave elasticity ratio for malignant lesions is 10.6 ± 5.4 SD and for benign (solid and cystic) lesions 3.6 ± 4.2 SD. Using ROC curve and Youden index, the difference in diagnostic performance between ES, SR and SWER was not significant in differentiation between benign and malignant breast lesions and also was non-significant difference when comparing them with conventional US alone.
ES, SR, and SWER have a high diagnostic performance in differentiating malignant from benign breast lesions with no statistically significant difference between them.