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Can micro-computed tomography imaging improve interpretation of macroscopic margin assessment of specimen radiography in excised breast specimens?

1 Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Perth Children's Hospital, Nedlands; Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia
2 Breast Centre, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital; University of WA School of Medicine; Breast Screen WA, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Anita G Bourke,
Breast Centre, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Verdun St., Nedlands, Western Australia, 6009
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcrt.JCRT_949_19

Introduction: Peri-operative macroscopic margin assessment with standard intraoperative specimen radiography (IOSR) results in improved re-excision rates in excised breast tissue specimens but is limited. This study sought to improve the intraoperative margin assessment on standard IOSR techniques by utilizing noninvasive X-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) imaging of breast tissue specimens to compare margins in three-dimensional with two-dimensional IOSR. Methods: Patients with impalpable breast carcinoma, or suspected breast carcinoma, who were eligible for breast-conserving surgery were recruited. Margins were assessed within each specimen using standard IOSR, micro-CT, and histology techniques. Results: Six malignant and three benign lesions were included for the analysis in this study. Micro-CT identified the same positive margin as IOSR in 3 out of 6 malignancies. However, margin status identified by micro-CT was concordant with pathological assessment in only one specimen. In comparison, margin assessment by IOSR correctly correlated with pathological margin status in three malignant specimens. Conclusion: The use of micro-CT imaging in this study did not improve margin assessment in impalpable breast specimens when compared to standard specimen radiography (SR) assessment. However, future improvements in sample preparation and CT image acquisition processes may enhance the potential of micro-CT as a valuable imaging tool for improving margin assessment.

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