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A study found that Delphinus Medical Technologies’ whole breast ultrasound tomography (UST) may provide more reliable information about breast cancer risk compared to mammography.

The study evaluated the relationship of sound speed, using Delphinus’ SoftVue 3D whole breast ultrasound system, and Mammographic percent density (MPD) with breast cancer.

MPD is an independent risk factor for developing breast cancer. It is not commonly assessed in women under 40 because of ionising radiation concerns.

The case-control study compared 61 patients with a recent breast cancer diagnosis with 165 women with no personal history of breast cancer.

In previous studies, tissue sound speed, derived from non-ionising modality UST, is a potential surrogate marker of breast density. However, sound speed has not been directly linked to the risk of breast cancer before this study.

This study demonstrated that increasing quartiles of whole breast volume-averaged sound speed was consistently associated with breast cancer compared to quartiles of MPD.

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These findings are claimed to be statistically significant and suggest future opportunities for utilising UST-breast cancer risk assessment, especially in younger women with the absence of ionising radiation.

Delphinus chief technology officer Dr Neb Duric said: “This study expands the potential application of our platform SoftVue technology beyond diagnostic imaging and breast cancer screening to cancer risk stratification for women at virtually any age, including the approximately 70 million women in the US that are below screening age.

“We believe that SoftVue imaging may enable individual risk assessment and intervention at an early age when interventions are the most effective, as well as personalised screening regimens that take into account risk levels.”

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute, the Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University, Henry Ford Health Systems, The Mayo Clinic and George Washington University conducted the study.

It was supported by a contract from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.