Quantitative analysis of breast lumpectomies using histology and micro-CT data
OBJECTIVE: Breast cancer represents a significant risk in women's health, affecting many women worldwide. Current treatment options in the U.S involve a multidisciplinary approach, most often beginning with surgery to remove cancerous tissue. Evaluation of margins for cancer on excised tissue is an important part of surgery, an important predictor of survival. As a result, there has been a great deal of research interest in intraoperative margin assessment, with a focus on fast and accurate results. Micro-computed Tomography (micro-CT) has emerged as a promising avenue to this end. We hypothesize that micro-CT scans will show a statistically significant difference in radiodensity between cancerous and non-cancerous tissue at intraoperative scan times. METHODS: 15 breast lumpectomy specimens were collected from patients undergoing surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Lumpectomies were scanned with a Nikon XTH225 Micro-CT scanner. Corresponding histology slides were scanned with a whole slide scanner, and matched with micro-CT scans. Representative areas of cancerous and non-cancerous tissues were segmented from micro-CT scans, and their respective radiodensity differences were tested for statistical significance. RESULTS: 9 of 15 lumpectomy cases were successfully matched with histology sections. Of the 9 cases matched, 8 showed a statistically significant difference in mean radiodensity. CONCLUSION: Due to potential confounds in the study, the results are difficult to deem conclusive. However, micro-CT remains a promising tool in margin assessment, and could be fit for clinical use with further study.