Shear-wave elastography improves the specificity of breast US: The BE1 multinational study of 939 masses

Wendie A. Berg*, David O. Cosgrove, Caroline J. Doré, Fritz K.W. Schäfer, William E. Svensson, Regina J. Hooley, Ralf Ohlinger, Ellen B. Mendelson, Catherine Balu-Maestro, Martina Locatelli, Christophe Tourasse, Barbara C. Cavanaugh, Valérie Juhan, A. Thomas Stavros, Anne Tardivon, Joel Gay, Jean Pierre Henry, Claude Cohen-Bacrie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

602 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine whether adding shear-wave (SW) elastographic features could improve accuracy of ultrasonographic (US) assessment of breast masses. Materials and Methods: From September 2008 to September 2010, 958 women consented to repeat standard breast US supplemented by quantitative SW elastographic examination in this prospective multicenter institutional review board-approved, HIPAA-compliant protocol. B-mode Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) features and assessments were recorded. SW elastographic evaluation (mean, maximum, and minimum elasticity of stiffest portion of mass and surrounding tissue; lesion-tofat elasticity ratio; ratio of SW elastographic-to-B-mode lesion diameter or area; SW elastographic lesion shape and homogeneity) was performed. Qualitative color SW elastographic stiffness was assessed independently. Nine hundred thirty-nine masses were analyzable; 102 BI-RADS category 2 masses were assumed to be benign; reference standard was available for 837 category 3 or higher lesions. Considering BI-RADS category 4a or higher as test positive for malignancy, effect of SW elastographic features on area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), sensitivity, and specificity after reclassifying category 3 and 4a masses was determined. Results: Median participant age was 50 years; 289 of 939(30.8%) masses were malignant (median mass size, 12 mm). B-mode BI-RADS AUC was 0.950; eight of 303(2.6%) BI-RADS category 3 masses, 18 of 193(9.3%) category 4a lesions, 41 of 97 (42%) category 4b lesions, 42 of 57(74%) category 4c lesions, and 180 of 187(96.3%) category 5 lesions were malignant. By using visual color stiffness to selectively upgrade category 3 and lack of stiffness to downgrade category 4a masses, specifi city improved from 61.1% (397 of 650) to 78.5% (510 of 650) (P<.001); AUC increased to 0.962(P =.005). Oval shape on SW elastographic images and quantitative maximum elasticity of 80 kPa (5.2 m/sec) or less improved specificity (69.4% [451 of 650] and 77.4% [503 of 650], P<.001 for both), without significant improvement in sensitivity or AUC. Conclusion: Adding SW elastographic features to BI-RADS feature analysis improved specificity of breast US mass assessment without loss of sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-449
Number of pages15
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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