(HealthDay News) – A high-resolution, low-dose phase contrast X-ray tomographic method of three-dimensional (3D) diagnosis, using an image reconstruction method known as equally sloped tomography, can be used to identify malignant breast cancer at clinically compatible doses of radiation.

Noting that about 10–20%of palpable tumors are not detectable on mammograms and that only about 40% of biopsied lesions are malignant, Yunzhe Zhao, PhD, from the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues describe a novel technique for identifying human breast cancers which combines phase contrast X-ray imaging with an image reconstruction method.

The researchers found that using the equally sloped tomography approach, a human breast was imaged in three dimensions, and a malignant cancer with a pixel size of 92µm was identified at a radiation dose lower than that of dual-view mammography. Compared with conventional phase contrast X-ray tomography, the method can reduce the radiation dose and acquisition time by approximately 74%, according to a blind evaluation by five independent radiologists, and the technique maintained high image resolution and image contrast.

“These results demonstrate that high-resolution 3D diagnostic imaging of human breast cancers can, in principle, be performed at clinical compatible doses,” the authors write.

The research was funded in part by a UC Discovery/TomoSoft Technologies grant.

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