Posted on Aug 03, 2012, 6 a.m.
High-resolution ultrasound offers an inexpensive, non-invasive and fast method to detect cancer that could someday help doctors identify cancers when tumors are less than a centimeter in size.
Blood vessels twist and turn throughout the body, and previous studies have suggested that vessel “bendiness,” or “tortuosity,” may indicate the presence and progression of cancer. Paul Dayton, from the University of North Carolina (North Carolina, USA), and colleagues have employed this concept to devise a high-resolution ultrasound offers an inexpensive, non-invasive and fast method to detect cancer that could someday help doctors identify cancers when tumors are less than a centimeter in size. The team used a new high-resolution ultrasound method, called "acoustic angiography," with an intravascular contrast agent that allowed them to acquire images of only the blood vessels. Commenting that: “Our results showed a definitive difference between vessels within and surrounding tumors versus those associated with normal healthy vasculature,” the team explains that: “"We know from several clinical and preclinical MRI studies … that vessels can unbend, or ‘normalize,’ in response to effective therapy. We need to see if our inexpensive ultrasound-based method of blood vessel visualization and tortuosity analysis can detect this normalization prior to conventional assessments of tumor response to therapy, such as measurements of tumor size.”
Ryan C. Gessner, Stephen R. Aylward, Paul A. Dayton. “Mapping Microvasculature with Acoustic Angiography Yields Quantifiable Differences between Healthy and Tumor-bearing Tissue Volumes in a Rodent Model.” Radiology, July 6, 2012.