The “Fingerprint” of Cancer Extends Beyond Solid Tumor Boundaries: Assessment With a Novel Ultrasound Imaging Approach


Goal: Abnormalities of microvascular morphology have been associated with tumor angiogenesis for more than a decade, and are believed to be intimately related to each tumor malignancy and response to treatment. However, the study of those vascular changes in-vivo has been challenged due to the dearth of imaging approaches which will assess the microvasculature in three-D volumes noninvasively. Here, we tend to use contrast-enhanced “acoustic angiography” ultrasound imaging to watch and quantify heterogeneity in vascular morphology around solid tumors. Methods: Acoustic angiography, a recent advance in contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging, generates high-resolution microvascular pictures unlike something attainable with customary ultrasound imaging techniques. Acoustic angiography images of a genetically engineered mouse breast cancer model were acquired to develop an image acquisition and processing routine that isolated radially expanding regions of a 3-D image from the tumor boundary to the edge of the imaging field for assessment of vascular morphology of tumor and surrounding vessels. Results: Quantitative analysis of vessel tortuosity for the tissue surrounding tumors three to seven mm in diameter revealed that tortuosity decreased during a region 6 to ten mm from the tumor boundary, but was still considerably elevated in comparison to control vasculature. Conclusion: Our analysis of angiogenesis-induced changes within the vasculature outside the tumor margin reveals that the extent of abnormal tortuosity extends considerably beyond the first tumor mass. Significance: Visualization of abnormal vascular tortuosity could build acoustic angiography a useful tool for early tumor detection based mostly on quantifying the vascular footprint of tiny tumors and a sensitive methodology for understanding changes within the vascular microenvironment throughout tumor progression.

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