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Shear wave scans could improve brain tumour surgery

Monday March 1st 2021

A new ultrasound technique may be the best way to detect cancer tissue missed during removal of tumours from the brain, researchers report today.

Shear wave elastography detected tumour tissue with 94% sensitivity = compared with 36% rates achieved by surgeons, researchers found.

The scan will also be faster and cheaper than using MRI, researchers say.

The project involved the Institute of Cancer Research, London, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, the Royal London Hospital and University Hospital, Southampton.

The findings have been published in Frontiers in Oncology.

Shear wave ultrasounds measure the stiffness and stretchiness of tissue, enabling them to detect tumour cells which have different characteristics to healthy cells.

The specificity for shear wave detection was 77% compared with 100% achieved by surgeons = suggesting that the expert eye would still be needed to assess tumour highlighted by the scan.

Researcher Professor Jeffrey Bamber, from the Institute of Cancer Research, said: "Using this new type of scan, surgeons could greatly increase confidence that no cancerous tissue is going to be left behind after surgery.

"Shear wave scanning can quickly and affordably map the stiffness of brain and tumour tissue in patients during surgery. Tumour tissue tends to have a different stiffness from that of surrounding healthy brain tissue and can be located and removed.

"We have shown for the first time that this new tool is better than either a standard 2D ultrasound or a surgeon's judgment on its own = and has the potential to supplement a surgeon's opinion as a means of improving outcomes from operations."

Frontiers in Oncology 1 March 2021

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Cancer | UK News

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