Automated breast ultrasound performs comparably to handheld

When women are recalled from screening mammography for additional imaging, they may soon be as likely to get scanned with automated ultrasound as with handheld, for European researchers have found similar performance between the two.

Their findings are running in the May edition of Acta Radiologica.

Lead author Roxanna Hellgren, MD, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and colleagues reviewed the cases of 113 women who had suspicious findings at screening and were sent for both handheld breast ultrasound and automated breast volume scanning (ABVS). Five of the women had suspicious lesions in both breasts.

An ABVS ultrasound device uses a wide scanner to sweep over a large area of the breast. The acquired transverse images are sent to a workstation for reconstruction and review.

The authors report that cancers were found in 25 of the 113 patients.

In the category of breasts with a suspicious mammographic finding (n = 118), the sensitivity of both handheld ultrasound and ABVS was 88 percent (22 of 25).

The specificity of handheld ultrasound was 93.5 percent (87 of 93) and ABVS was 89.2 percent (83 of 93).

In the category of breasts with a negative mammography (n = 103), the sensitivity of handheld ultrasound and ABVS was 100 percent (1 of 1).

The specificity of handheld ultrasound was 100 percent (102 of 102) and ABVS was 94.1 percent (96 of 102).

Hellgren and colleagues note their small sample size and call for further investigation with larger study populations.