Downgrading and upgrading gray-scale ultrasound BI-RADS categories of benign and malignant masses with optoacoustics: A pilot study

Erin I. Neuschler*, Philip T. Lavin, F. Lee Tucker, Lora D. Barke, Margaret L. Bertrand, Marcela Böhm-Vélez, Stamatia Destounis, Basak E. Dogan, Stephen R. Grobmyer, Janine Katzen, Kenneth A. Kist, Erini V. Makariou, Tchaiko M. Parris, Catherine A. Young, Reni Butler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. False-positive findings remain challenging in breast imaging. This study investigates the incremental value of optoacoustic imaging in improving BI-RADS categorization of breast masses at ultrasound. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. The study device is an optoacoustic breast imaging device with a handheld duplex laser and internal gray-scale ultrasound probe, fusing functional and morphologic information (optoacoustic ultrasound). In this prospective multisite study, breast masses assessed as BI-RADS category 3, 4A, 4B, 4C, or 5 by site radiologists underwent both gray-scale ultrasound and optoacoustic imaging with the study device. Independent reader radiologists assessed internal gray-scale ultrasound and optoacoustic ultrasound features for each mass and assigned a BI-RADS category. The percentage of mass reads for which optoacoustic ultrasound resulted in a downgrade or upgrade of BI-RADS category relative to internal gray-scale ultrasound was determined. RESULTS. Of 94 total masses, 39 were biopsy-proven malignant, 44 were biopsy-proven benign, and 11 BI-RADS category 3 masses were stable at 12-month follow-up. The sensitivity of both optoacoustic ultrasound and internal gray-scale ultrasound was 97.1%. The specificity was 44.3% for optoacoustic ultrasound and 36.4% for internal gray-scale ultrasound. Using optoacoustic ultrasound, 41.7% of benign masses or BI-RADS category 3 masses that were stable at 12-month follow-up were downgraded to BI-RADS category 2 by independent readers; 36.6% of masses assigned BI-RADS category 4A were downgraded to BI-RADS category 3 or 2, and 10.1% assigned BI-RADS category 4B were downgraded to BI-RADS category 3 or 2. Using optoacoustic ultrasound, independent readers upgraded 75.0% of the malignant masses classified as category 4A, 4B, 4C, or 5, and 49.4% of the malignant masses were classified as category 4B, 4C, or 5. CONCLUSION. Optoacoustic ultrasound resulted in BI-RADS category downgrading of benign masses and upgrading of malignant masses compared with gray-scale ultrasound.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-700
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Breast cancer
  • Breast ultrasound
  • Optoacoustic imaging
  • Photoacoustic imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Downgrading and upgrading gray-scale ultrasound BI-RADS categories of benign and malignant masses with optoacoustics: A pilot study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this