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2013 Abstracts

Detecting the Genetic Signatures of Breast Cancer with High-Frequency Ultrasound

Janeese Stiles, Utah Valley University

Academic Affairs

Previous studies have shown that high-frequency (HF) ultrasound is sensitive to cell properties such as stiffness and adhesion factors which are a function of protein expression. The goal of this project is to see if HF ultrasound is sensitive enough to detect and differentiate between the five molecular subtypes of breast cancer which are based on protein expression. Since genetic changes precede histological changes in the development of breast cancer, the ability to detect genetic changes (i.e., molecular subtypes) in breast tissue in real time and at the microscopic level will allow surgeons to remove all of the malignant and premalignant tissue during lumpectomies. HF ultrasound personalizes the treatment plan and will be used as a diagnostic technique for precise, image-guided breast cancer surgery. Four breast cancer cell lines with different molecular subtypes and a non-malignant breast cell line will be grown as monolayer cultures. At monolayer confluence, cell and nuclei morphologies of the cell cultures will be determined by phase-contrast microscopy. After microscopy, the monolayers will be ultrasonically tested using a HF ultrasonic test system with a single-element (50 MHz, 6.35-mm) ultrasonic immersion transducer. The resulting ultrasonic waveforms will be analyzed using computational models that simulate the ultrasonic scattering from cells and nuclei as a function of morphology, internal properties, and external properties. The protein expressions associated with the different subtypes will be researched to determine what effects each subtype will have on cell and tissue properties. This method will add a new dimension to pathology and permit more efficient surgical treatment of breast cancer.