Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related fatalities as there are a limited number of tools to diagnose this disease in its early stages. Pancreatitis is characterized as an inflammation of the pancreatic tissue due to an excess amount of pancreatic enzymes remaining in the organ. Both of these diseases result in a stiffening of the tissue which makes them suitable for the use of elastography techniques as a diagnostic method. However, these methods typically assume that the tissue is purely elastic when biological tissue is inherently viscoelastic. The attenuation measuring ultrasound shear elastography (AMUSE) method, which measures both attenuation and shear wave velocity was used to characterize the viscoelasticity of pancreatic tissue. This method was tested in ex vivo normal porcine samples that were also stiffened in formalin and in vivo by conducting studies in healthy human subjects. Ex vivo testing showed ranges of phase velocity, group velocity, and phase attenuation values of 1.05-1.33 m s-1, 0.83-1.12 m s-1, and 183-210 Np m-1. After immersing the ex vivo tissue in formalin there was a distinguishable difference between normal and stiffened tissue. This study produced percent difference ranges of phase velocity, group velocity, and phase attenuation from 0 to 100 min in formalin of 30.0%-56.5%, 38.2%-58.6%, and 55.8%-64.8%, respectively. The ranges of phase velocity, group velocity, and phase attenuation results in human subjects were 1.53-1.60 m s-1, 1.76-1.91 m s-1, and 196-204 Np m-1, respectively. These results were within a similar range reported by other elastography techniques. Further work with the AMUSE method in subjects with pancreatitis and cancer is needed to determine its effectiveness in showing a difference between healthy and diseased tissue in humans.
- attenuation measuring ultrasound shearwave elastography
- pancreatic cancer
- shear waves
ASJC Scopus subject areas