Acoustic radiation force impulse imaging of human prostates: Initial in vivo demonstration - Abstract

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.


Reliably detecting prostate cancer (PCa) has been a challenge for current imaging modalities. Acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging is an elasticity imaging method that uses remotely generated, focused acoustic beams to probe tissue stiffness. A previous study on excised human prostates demonstrated ARFI images portray various prostatic structures and has the potential to guide prostate needle biopsy with improved sampling accuracy. The goal of this study is to demonstrate the feasibility of ARFI imaging to portray internal structures and PCa in the human prostate in vivo. Custom ARFI imaging sequences were designed and implemented using a modified Siemens Antares™ scanner with a three-dimensional (3-D) wobbler, end-firing, trans-cavity transducer, EV9F4. Nineteen patients were consented and imaged immediately preceding surgical prostatectomy. Pathologies and anatomic structures were identified in histologic slides by a pathologist blinded to ARFI data and were then registered with structures found in ARFI images. The results demonstrated that when PCa is visible, it generally appears as bilaterally asymmetric stiff structures; benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) appears heterogeneous with a nodular texture; the verumontanum and ejaculatory ducts appears softer compared with surrounding tissue, which form a unique 'V' shape; and the boundary of the transitional zone (TZ) forms a stiff rim separating the TZ from the peripheral zone (PZ). These characteristic appearances of prostatic structures are consistent with those found in our previous study of prostate ARFI imaging on excised human prostates. Compared with the matched B-mode images, ARFI images, in general, portray prostate structures with higher contrast. With the end-firing transducer used for this study, ARFI depth penetration was limited to 22 mm. Image contrast and resolution were decreased as compared with the previous ex vivo study due to the small transducer aperture. Even with these limitations, this study suggests ARFI imaging holds promise for guidance of targeted prostate needle biopsy and focal therapy, as well as aiding assessment of changes during watchful waiting/active surveillance.

Written by:
Zhai L, Polascik TJ, Foo WC, Rosenzweig S, Palmeri ML, Madden J, Nightingale KR.   Are you the author?

Reference: Ultrasound Med Biol. 2012 Jan;38(1):50-61.
doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2011.10.002

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 22104533 Prostate Cancer Section