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CONTRAST ENHANCED BEAMFORMING FOR BREAST CANCER DETECTION

By D. Byrne, M. O'Halloran, M. Glavin, and E. Jones

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Abstract:
The early identification of malignant tissue is one of the most significant factors in the successful treatment of breast cancer. Microwave imaging is an emerging breast screening modality based on the dielectric contrast between normal and cancerous tissues at microwave frequencies. When the breast is illuminated with an Ultrawideband (UWB) microwave pulse, the dielectric contrast between normal and cancerous tissues generates electromagnetic reflections. These reflected signals, containing tumor backscatter, are spatially focused using a beamformer which can compensate for attenuation and phase effects as the signal propagates through the breast. However, recent studies have shown the breast to be a dielectrically heterogeneous entity. High levels of heterogeneity reduce the dielectric contrast between normal and cancerous tissue, limiting the effectiveness of beamforming algorithms. One possible method to assist in the diagnoses of cancer in a heterogeneously dense breast is the use of contrast agents. Contrast agents modify the dielectric properties of a malignant tumor site in order to increase the dielectric contrast with fibroglandular tissue. In this paper, a number of beamforming algorithms are applied to MRI-derived models with endogenous and contrast enhanced malignant tissue properties. Two contrast agents are applied to heterogeneously dense breast phantoms and simulations are carried out prior and post contrast agent delivery. A range of tumor diameters are simulated and a number of beamforming algorithms are applied to the simulated data. The resulting differential scans are then compared across a range of appropriate metrics.

Citation:
D. Byrne, M. O'Halloran, M. Glavin, and E. Jones, "Contrast Enhanced Beamforming for Breast Cancer Detection," Progress In Electromagnetics Research B, Vol. 28, 219-234, 2011.
doi:10.2528/PIERB10120807

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