The following is a summary of “Intra- and Interobserver Reliability of Shear Wave Elastography in Breast Cancer Diagnosis,” published in the September 2023 issue of Oncology by Togawa et al.
Shear wave elastography (SWE) is becoming popular for breast cancer diagnosis, but large-scale studies are needed to assess its reliability. Researchers performed a retrospective study to evaluate how well different radiologists agreed on their SWE assessments of breast lesions classified as BIRADS 3 or 4.
The study analyzed data from 1,288 women across 12 institutions in 7 countries with breast lesions categorized as BIRADS 3 to 4. These women underwent conventional B-mode ultrasound and SWE. Among them, 1,243 (96.5%) had 3 repeated conventional B-mode ultrasounds and SWE measurements conducted by a board-certified senior physician. Additionally, 375 out of the 1,288 (29.1%) women underwent a supplementary ultrasound examination, including both B-mode and SWE, by a second physician. They calculated intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) to assess the reliability of both intra- and interobserver measurements.
The result demonstrated that intraobserver reliability exhibited excellent correlation, with an ICC exceeding 0.9, while interobserver reliability was moderate at an ICC of 0.7. There were no clinically meaningful differences in intraobserver reliability, whether performing SWE on BI-RADS 3 or 4 lesions or histopathologically benign or malignant lesions.
The study found that SWE was highly reliable for assessing solid breast masses, with excellent intraobserver reliability and moderate interobserver reliability.