This study evaluates the diagnostic performance of shear wave elastography (SWE) in differentiating between benign and axillary lymph node (ALN) metastasis in breast carcinoma.
Materials and methods
Breast lesions and axillae of 107 patients were assessed using B-mode ultrasound and SWE. Histopathology was the diagnostic gold standard.
In metastatic axillary lymph nodes, qualitative SWE using color patterns had the highest area under curve (AUC) value, followed by B-mode Ultrasound (cortical thickening >3 mm) and quantitative SWE using Emax of 15.2 kPa (AUC of 81.3%, 70.1%, and 61.2%, respectively). Qualitative SWE exhibited better diagnostic performance than the other two parameters, with sensitivity of 96.0% and specificity of 56.1%. Combination of B-mode Ultrasound (using cortical thickness of >3 mm as cut-off point) and qualitative SWE (Color patterns of 2 to 4) showed sensitivity of 71.6%, specificity of 95%, PPV of 96%, NPV of 66.7%, and accuracy of 80.4%.
Qualitative SWE assessment exhibited higher accuracy compared to quantitative values. Qualitative SWE as an adjunct to B-mode ultrasound can further improve the diagnostic accuracy of metastatic ALN in breast cancer.
Abbreviation:SWE (shear wave elastography), ALN (axillary lymph node)
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Published online: April 26, 2021
Accepted: March 17, 2021
Received in revised form: March 17, 2021
Received: December 14, 2020
© 2021 The Association of University Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.