Tissue mimicking materials for the detection of prostate cancer using shear wave elastography: A validation study
Cao R, Huang Z, Varghese T, Nabi G. Med Phys. 2013 Feb;40(2):022903. doi: 10.1118/1.4773315.


School of Engineering, Physics, and Mathematics, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, United Kingdom.


Purpose: Quantification of stiffness changes may provide important diagnostic information and aid in the early detection of cancers. Shear wave elastography is an imaging technique that assesses tissue stiffness using acoustic radiation force as an alternate to manual palpation reported previously with quasistatic elastography. In this study, the elastic properties of tissue mimicking materials, including agar, polyacrylamide (PAA), and silicone, are evaluated with an objective to determine material characteristics which resemble normal and cancerous prostate tissue.Methods: Acoustic properties and stiffness of tissue mimicking phantoms were measured using compressional mechanical testing and shear wave elastography using supersonic shear imaging. The latter is based on the principles of shear waves generated using acoustic radiation force. The evaluation included tissue mimicking materials (TMMs) within the prostate at different positions and sizes that could mimic cancerous and normal prostate tissue. Patient data on normal and prostate cancer tissues quantified using biopsy histopathology were used to validate the findings. Pathologist reports on histopathology were blinded to mechanical testing and elastographic findings.Results: Young's modulus values of 86.2 ± 4.5 and 271.5 ± 25.7 kPa were obtained for PAA mixed with 2% Al(2)O(3) particles and silicone, respectively. Young's modulus of TMMs from mechanical compression testing showed a clear trend of increasing stiffness with an increasing percentage of agar. The silicone material had higher stiffness values when compared with PAA with Al(2)O(3). The mean Young's modulus value in cancerous tissue was 90.5 ± 4.5 kPa as compared to 93.8 ± 4.4 and 86.2 ± 4.5 kPa obtained with PAA with 2% Al(2)O(3) phantom at a depth of 52.4 and 36.6 mm, respectively.Conclusions: PAA mixed with Al(2)O(3) provides the most suitable tissue mimicking material for prostate cancer tumor material, while agar could form the surrounding background to simulate normal prostate tissue.