Utilisation of electrical impedance tomography in breast cancer diagnosis.

Author: Raneta O, Ondruš D, Bella V.
Affiliation: 1st Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, St. Elisabeth Cancer Institute, Bratislava, Slovak Republic. olga_raneta@hotmail.com
Conference/Journal: Klin Onkol.
Date published: 2012
Other: Volume ID: 25 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 36-41 , Word Count: 346

Breast cancer presents a serious medical and social problem worldwide. Early detection is key to effective breast cancer treatment. Therefore, scientists are consistently looking for new diagnostic techniques that would be more efficient, easy to use and safe for the patient. The main task of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a novel low-cost non-invasive technique called electrical impedance tomography (EIT) and to determine whether EIT can qualitatively supplement the existing traditional imaging techniques in the process of breast cancer diagnostics.
Randomly selected patients with mammographic and/or sonographic abnormalities were involved into the study. In total, 808 patients aged 18-94 (mean 54) years participated in the survey. Exclusion criteria involved previous breast surgery, breast core biopsy or fine needle aspiration within the last 1 and 3 months, respectively. Furthermore, patients with implanted electrically powered devices (cardioverter, pacemaker) and patients previously treated by chemo-radiotherapy were also excluded. The EIT examination was performed using the electrical impedance computer mammograph MEIK developed by the Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics, Russian Academy of Sciences.
The following results were obtained: sensitivity of EIT was 87%, X-ray mammography (MMG) 89% and ultrasonography (USG) 91%; specificity of EIT was 85%, MMG 91% and USG 84%. Negative predictive value (NPV) of all three modalities showed nearly equal values, with slight advantage of the USG. MMG had the highest positive predictive (PPV) value (83%), EIT had the lowest (63%). Sensitivity increased to 96% and 98%, respectively, when combinations EIT+MMG and EIT+USG were used. The specificity increased to 79% for EIT+MMG and 71% for EIT+USG. EIT+MMG and EIT+USG NPV remained the same. PPV was 65% and 58%, respectively for the EIT+MMG and EIT+USG combination.
Our study findings are comparable to those of other similar studies. Although the EIT is a promising method and deserves close attention of specialists, it cannot replace MMG and/or USG examination as it does not provide information on structural changes to the breast. It can, however, provide very useful additional information about metabolic processes in the body. But in order to show its full potential some improvements should be held.
PMID: 22348218