Algorithm for using ultrasound to image and quantitatively measure tissue damage.
- Uses ultrasound technology to evaluate the extent of fibrosis after radiation therapy.
- Reliable quantitative measurement that can aid in the development of new treatment options for radiation induced fibrosis.
There are approximately 14 million cancer survivors in the United States and approximately half of these patients will receive radiation treatment during the course of their disease. Radiation induced fibrosis (RIF) is a common side effect to radiation therapy and can develop in subcutaneous tissue, lungs, gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts, muscles, or other organs depending on the treatment site. RIF can cause both cosmetic and functional impairment which reduces quality of life and sometimes can lead to organ failure and death. There has been little research done to determine extent of and better treatments for RIF, likely due to a lack of a reliable imaging method. Currently, the only way to measure fibrosis is by visual inspection which can be unreliable, inaccurate, and not ideal for fibroids on interior organs and tissues. Improvement in imaging techniques to assess the severity and location of RIF could aid in patient treatment as well as treatment development for RIF.
The developed algorithm and imaging approach can provide quantitative measurements of RIFs via a conventional ultrasound used in tandem with Nakagami imaging. This method produces measurements comparable to clinical evaluation of fibroids. Because fibrosis is associated with thickened epithelia, thickness of the tissue can be calculated using ultrasound images. Using Nakagmi imaging based on radiofrequency echo signals, the Nakagami shape parameter can be computed to measure the concentration and arrangement of microstructures in tissue, whereby a higher Nakagami parameter indicates more severe RIF. Based on the thickness of the tissue coupled with the Nakagmi parameter, clinicians can score the extent of RIF. The multi-parametric imaging technique including ultrasound and Nakagami imaging technology developed at Emory shows great promise in assessing both the presence and severity of RIF.
- Has been evaluated in patients following breast, head-and-neck, and prostate cancer radiotherapy.
- Results using this imaging technique were correlated with subjective clinical evaluation of fibrosis.