Simultaneous comparison between strain and shear wave elastography of breast masses for the differentiation of benign and malignant lesions by qualitative and quantitative assessments

Breast Cancer. 2019 Nov;26(6):792-798. doi: 10.1007/s12282-019-00985-0. Epub 2019 Jun 7.


Purpose: To compare the addition of diagnostic strain elastography (SE) and shear wave elastography (SWE) values to the conventional B-mode ultrasonography in differentiating between benign and malignant breast masses by qualitative and quantitative assessments.

Materials and methods: B-mode ultrasound, SE, and SWE were simultaneously performed using one ultrasound system in 148 breast masses; 88 of them were malignant. The breast imaging reporting and data system category in the B-mode, Tsukuba score (SETsu), Fat-Lesion-Ratio (SEFLR) in SE, and five-point color assessment (SWEcol) and elasticity values (SWEela) in SWE were assessed. The results were compared using the area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUC).

Result: The AUC for B-mode and each elastography were similar (B-mode, 0.889; SETsu, 0.885; SEFLR, 0.875; SWEcol, 0.881; SWEela, 0.885; P > 0.05). The combined sets between B-mode and either of the elastography technique showed good diagnostic performance (B-mode + SETsu, 0.903; B-mode + SEFLR, 0.909; B-mode + SWEcol, 0.919; B-mode + SWEela, 0.914). B-mode + SWEcol and B-mode + SWEela showed a higher AUC than B-mode alone (P = 0.026 and 0.029), and B-mode + SETsu and B-mode + SEFLR showed comparable AUC to B-mode alone (P = 0.196 and 0.085). There was no significant difference between qualitative and quantitative assessments for the combined sets of B-mode and elastography (P > 0.05).

Conclusion: The addition of both SE and SWE to B-mode ultrasound improved the diagnostic performance with increased AUC, and especially SWE was more useful than SE, and no significant difference was found between qualitative and quantitative assessments.

Keywords: Breast imaging; Elastography; Shear wave elastography; Strain elastography; Ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Area Under Curve
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / methods*
  • Female
  • Fibroadenoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiologists
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary / methods*