Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Chicago team uses artificial intelligence to diagnose metastatic cancer

Results of pilot study to be presented at medical physics meeting in Anaheim

When doctors are managing care for women with breast cancer, the information available to them profoundly influences the type of care they recommend.

Knowing whether a woman's cancer has metastasized, for instance, directly affects how her doctors will approach treatment -- which may in turn influence the outcome of that treatment.

Determining whether a tumor has metastasized is not always straightforward, however. Radiologists often start by using diagnostic ultrasound to non-invasively probe the nearby lymph nodes -- tissues where cancer cells first migrate once they metastasize. But in the early stages of cancer, lymph nodes often appear completely normal even if the cancer has metastasized.

Now a team of researchers at the University of Chicago has designed a computer program that uses artificial intelligence to analyze the features of ultrasound images in order to help doctors predict earlier whether a woman's cancer has metastasized. The team will discuss the first preclinical results obtained using this program at the upcoming meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), which takes place from July 26 - 30, 2009 in Anaheim, California.

Currently there are no automated methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration for diagnosing cancer, but on Wednesday the team will report the results of a preliminary pilot study that retrospectively reanalyzed the diagnostic ultrasounds of 50 women with suspected breast cancer who all had lymph nodes that appeared normal in the ultrasound -- suggesting that their cancers had not metastasized.

All 50 women later underwent surgery to remove their cancers and axillary lymph nodes, and tissue biopsies of the lymph nodes revealed that 20 of them had metastatic cancer and 30 of them had cancer that remained localized at the time of surgery.

The pilot study aimed to determine if the computer would have accurately identified the 20 metastatic cases based on analyzing the ultrasound images of the tumors.

The program performed promisingly well, says medical physicist Karen Drukker, a research associate and assistant professor in the department of radiology at the University of Chicago, who will be presenting results in Anaheim that demonstrate the program's potential for diagnosing metastatic disease.

"We discovered that a computer analysis of breast ultrasound could potentially predict with promising accuracy which patients had metastasis and which did not," says Drukker.

Next they plan to start an observer study in which several radiologists will use the computer program to see if it enhances their ability to diagnose metastasis -- again, based on retrospective cases for which the answer can later be revealed.

The talk, "Quantitative Image Analysis for Prognosis in Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Patients with Sonographically Normal Appearing Lymph Nodes" is at 1:54 p.m. on Wednesday, July 29 in Room 304A. More information:


Journalists are welcome to attend the conference free of charge. AAPM will grant complimentary registration to any full-time or freelance journalist working on assignment. The Press guidelines are posted at:

If you are a reporter and would like to attend, please fill out the press registration form:

Questions about the meeting or requests for interviews, images, or background information should be directed to Jason Bardi (, 858-775-4080).


Main Meeting Web site:
Search Meeting Abstracts:
Meeting program:
AAPM home page:
Background article about how medical physics has revolutionized medicine:


If you ever had a mammogram, ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, PET scan, or known someone treated for cancer, chances are reasonable that a medical physicist was working behind the scenes to make sure the imaging procedure was as effective as possible. Medical physicists help to develop new imaging techniques, improve existing ones, and assure the safety of radiation used in medical procedures in radiology, radiation oncology and nuclear medicine. They collaborate with radiation oncologists to design cancer treatment plans. They provide routine quality assurance and quality control on radiation equipment and procedures to ensure that cancer patients receive the prescribed dose of radiation to the correct location. They also contribute to the development of physics intensive therapeutic techniques, such as the stereotactic radiosurgery and prostate seed implants for cancer to name a few. The annual AAPM meeting is a great resource, providing guidance to physicists to implement the latest and greatest technology in a community hospital close to you.


The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) is a scientific, educational, and professional organization of more than 6,000 medical physicists. Headquarters are located at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD. Publications include a scientific journal ("Medical Physics"), technical reports, and symposium proceedings. See:

Jason Bardi | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht 'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region
16.03.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Fraunhofer HHI have developed a novel single-polarization Kramers-Kronig receiver scheme
16.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>