Theses Doctoral

Development of a Harmonic Motion Imaging guided Focused Ultrasound system for breast tumor characterization and treatment monitoring

Han, Yang

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among women. About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime.
Existing methods of early detection of breast cancer include mammography and palpation, either by patient self-examination or clinical breast exam. Palpation is the manual detection of differences in tissue stiffness between breast tumors and normal breast tissue. The success of palpation relies on the fact that the stiffness of breast tumors is often an order of magnitude greater than that of normal breast tissue, i.e., breast lesions feel ''hard'' or ''lumpy'' as compared to normal breast tissue. A mammogram is an x-ray that allows a qualified specialist to examine the breast tissue for any suspicious areas. Mammography is less likely to reveal breast tumors in women younger than 50 years with denser breast than in older women. When a suspicious site is detected in the breast through a breast self-exam or on a screening mammogram, the doctor may request an ultrasound of the breast tissue. A breast ultrasound can provide evidence about whether the lump is a solid mass, a cyst filled with fluid, or a combination of the two. An invasive needle biopsy is the only diagnostic procedure that can definitely determine if the suspicious area is cancerous. In the clinic, 80% of women who have a breast biopsy do not have breast cancer.
Most women with breast cancer diagnosed will have some type of surgery to remove the tumor. Depending on the type of breast cancer and how advanced it is, the patient might need other types of treatment as well, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Image-guided minimally-invasive treatment of localized breast tumor as an alternative to traditional breast surgery, such as high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) treatment, has become a subject of intensive research. HIFU applies extreme high temperatures to induce irreversible cell injury, tumor apoptosis and coagulative necrosis. Compared with conventional surgical procedures the main advantages of HIFU ablation lie in the fact that it is non-invasive, less scarring and less painful, allowing for shorter recovery time. HIFU can be guided by MRI (MRgFUS) or by conventional diagnostic ultrasound (USgFUS). Worldwide, thousands of patients with uterine fibroids, liver cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, bone tumors, and renal cancer have been treated by USgFUS.
In this dissertation, the objective is to develop an integrated Harmonic Motion Imaging guided Focused Ultrasound (HMIgFUS) system as a clinical monitoring technique for breast HIFU with the added capability of detecting tumors for treatment planning, evaluation of tissue stiffness changes during HIFU ablation for treatment monitoring in real time, and assessment of thermal lesion sizes after treatment evaluation. A new HIFU treatment planning method was described that used oscillatory radiation force induced displacement amplitude variations to detect the HIFU focal spot before lesioning. Using this method, we were able to visualize the HMIgFUS focal region at variable depths. By comparing the estimated displacement profiles with lesion locations in pathology, we demonstrated the feasibility of using this HMI-based technique to localize the HIFU focal spot and predict lesion location during the planning phase. For HIFU monitoring, a HIFU lesion detection and ablation monitoring method was first developed using oscillatory radiation force induced displacement amplitude variations in real time. Using this method, the HMIgFUS focal region and lesion formation were visualized in real time at a feedback rate of 2.4 Hz. By comparing the estimated lesion size against gross pathology, the feasibility of using HMIgFUS to monitor treatment and lesion formation without interruption is demonstrated. In order to reduce the imaging time, it is shown in this dissertation that using the steered FUS beam, HMI can be used to image a 2.3 times larger ROI without requiring physical movement of the transducer. Using steering for HMI can be used to shorten the total imaging duration without requiring physical movement of the transducer. For the application of breast tumor, HMI and HMIgFUS were optimized and applied to ex vivo breast tissue. The results showed that HMI is experimentally capable of mapping and differentiating stiffness in normal and abnormal breast tissues. HMIgFUS can also successfully generate thermal lesions on normal and pathological breast tissues. HMI has also been applied to post-surgical breast mastectomy specimens to mimic the in vivo environment. In the end, the first HMI clinical system has been built with added capability of GUP-based parallel beamforming. A clinical trial has been approved at Columbia University to image breast tumor on patient. The HMI clinical system has shown to be able to map fibroadenoma mass on two patients with valid HMI displacement. The study in this dissertation may yield an early-detection technique for breast cancer without any age discrimination and thus, increase the survival rate.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Biomedical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Konofagou, Elisa
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 2, 2018