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  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

PB.44. Do qualitative patterns of stiffness help differentiate benign from malignant breast masses of similar stiffness during shear wave elastography?

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Breast Cancer Research201416 (Suppl 1) :P49

  • Published:


  • Cancer Research
  • Benign Lesion
  • Malignant Lesion
  • Breast Lesion
  • Qualitative Feature


Previous studies assessing qualitative patterns of stiffness in breast lesions have not matched benign and malignant lesions for quantitative stiffness. The purpose of this study is to compare the qualitative patterns of stiffness of benign and malignant lesions matched for quantitative stiffness.


A total of 158 consecutive histologically confirmed benign lesions with a mean stiffness >30 kPa were identified from a prospective database. Forty-nine cancers with the same distribution of stiffness as the benign lesions were identified for comparison. The following features were assessed by two observers; BIRADS score, whether there was stiffness in the lesion, outside the lesion, Tozaki classification, homogeneity of stiffness, the presence of a ring sign, stiffness adjacent to the skin or muscle, and the assessed likelihood of the stiffness being artefactual. Statistical analysis was carried out using the chi-square test.


Benign and malignant lesions both had a mean stiffness of 73 kPa. The following features show a significant association with malignancy; BIRADS classification 4 or 5 (45 (91%) vs. 99 (63%), P < 0.0001), Tozaki classification 3 and 4 (43 (88%) vs. 85 (54%), P < 0.001), and presence of a ring sign (40 (82%) vs. 78 (49%), P < 0.001). The following features were more common in benign lesions; stiffness in the lesion (103 (65%) vs. 17 (35%), P = 0.0002), stiffness adjacent to skin (99 (63%) vs. 19 (39%), P = 0.003) and stiffness thought to be probably artefact (74 (47%) vs. 5 (10%), P < 0.0001).


Qualitative features show significant differences in frequency when comparing benign and malignant masses. Qualitative features could be used to help classify breast lesions during SWE.

Authors’ Affiliations

University of Dundee, UK
Dundee Cancer Centre, Dundee, UK
Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, UK


© Elseedawy et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.