High-Frequency Quantitative Ultrasound for Imaging Prostate Cancer Using a Novel Micro-Ultrasound Scanner

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2018 Jul;44(7):1341-1354. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2018.02.014. Epub 2018 Apr 4.


Currently, biopsies guided by transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) are the only method for definitive diagnosis of prostate cancer. Studies by our group suggest that quantitative ultrasound (QUS) could provide a more sensitive means of targeting biopsies and directing focal treatments to cancer-suspicious regions in the prostate. Previous studies have utilized ultrasound signals at typical clinical frequencies, i.e., in the 6-MHz range. In the present study, a 29-MHz, TRUS, micro-ultrasound system and transducer (ExactVu micro-ultrasound, Exact Imaging, Markham, Canada) was used to acquire radio frequency data from 163 patients immediately before 12-core biopsy procedures, comprising 1956 cores. These retrospective data are a subset of data acquired in an ongoing, multisite, 2000-patient, randomized, clinical trial (clinicaltrials.gov NCT02079025). Spectrum-based QUS estimates of effective scatter diameter (ESD), effective acoustic concentration (EAC), midband (M), intercept (I) and slope (S) as well as envelope statistics employing a Nakagami distribution were used to train linear discriminant classifiers (LDCs) and support vector machines (SVMs). Classifier performance was assessed using area-under-the-curve (AUC) values obtained from receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses with 10-fold cross validation. A combination of ESD and EAC parameters resulted in an AUC value of 0.77 using a LDC. When Nakagami-µ or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) values were added as features, the AUC value increased to 0.79. SVM produced an AUC value of 0.77, using a combination of envelope and spectral QUS estimates. The best classification produced an AUC value of 0.81 using an LDC when combining envelope statistics, PSA, ESD and EAC. In a previous study, B-mode-based scoring and evaluation using the PRI-MUS protocol produced a maximal AUC value of 0.74 for higher Gleason-score values (GS >7) when read by an expert. Our initial results with AUC values of 0.81 are very encouraging for developing a new, predominantly user-independent, prostate-cancer, risk-assessing tool.

Keywords: High frequency; Prostate cancer; QUS; Quantitative micro-ultrasound; Quantitative ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostate / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography / instrumentation*
  • Ultrasonography / methods*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02079025