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.
Copyright © 2018 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.