Use of a handheld terahertz pulsed imaging device to differentiate benign and malignant breast tissue

Maarten Grootendorst, Anthony J. Fitzgerald, Susan G.Brouwer De Koning, Aida Santaolalla, Alessia Portieri, Mieke Van Hemelrijck, Matthew R. Young, Julie Owen, Massi Cariati, Michael Pepper, Vincent P. Wallace, Sarah Pinder, Arnie Purushotham, Aida Santaolalla

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Since nearly 20% of breast-conserving surgeries (BCS) require re-operation, there is a clear need for developing new techniques to more accurately assess tumor resection margins intraoperatively. This study evaluates the diagnostic accuracy of a handheld terahertz pulsed imaging (TPI) system to discriminate benign from malignant breast tissue ex vivo. Forty six freshly excised breast cancer samples were scanned with a TPI handheld probe system, and histology was obtained for comparison. The image pixels on TPI were classified using (1) parameters in combination with support vector machine (SVM) and (2) Gaussian wavelet deconvolution in combination with Bayesian classification. The results were an accuracy, sensitivity, specificity of 75%, 86%, 66% for method 1, and 69%, 87%, 54% for method 2 respectively. This demonstrates the probe can discriminate invasive breast cancer from benign breast tissue with an encouraging degree of accuracy, warranting further study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number#286058
Pages (from-to)2932-2945
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number6
Early online date9 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Medical and biological imaging
  • Terahertz imaging
  • Tissue characterization


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