High-Resolution X-ray Phase-Contrast 3D Imaging of Breast Tissue Specimens as a Possible Adjunct to Histopathology

Patrycja Baran, Sheridan Mayo, Mikkaela McCormack, Serena Pacile, Giuliana Tromba, Christian Dullin, Fabrizio Zanconati, Fulvia Arfelli, Diego Dreossi, Jane Fox, Zdenka Prodanovic, Marian Cholewa, Harry Quiney, Matthew Dimmock, Yakov Nesterets, Darren Thompson, Patrick Brennan, Timur Gureyev

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7 Citations (Scopus)


THistopathological analysis is the current gold standard in breast cancer diagnosis and management, however, as imaging technology improves, the amount of potential diagnostic information that may be demonstrable radiologically should also increase. We aimed to evaluate the potential clinical usefulness of 3D phase-contrast micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) imaging at high spatial resolutions as an adjunct to conventional histological microscopy. Ten breast tissue specimens, 2 mm in diameter, were scanned at the SYRMEP beamline of the Elettra Synchrotron using the propagation-based phase-contrast micro-tomography method. We obtained 1.2 ìm pixel size images, which were analysed and compared with corresponding histological sections examined under light microscopy. To evaluate the effect of spatial resolution on breast cancer diagnosis, scans with 4 different pixel sizes were also performed. Our comparative analysis revealed that high-resolution images can enable, at a near-histological level, detailed architectural assessment of tissue that may permit increased breast cancer diagnostic sensitivity and specificity when compared with current imaging practices. The potential clinical applications of this method are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2642-2650
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • breast cancer
  • computed tomography
  • histology
  • phase contrast
  • X-ray imaging

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