Diagnostic Performance and Accuracy of the 3 Interpreting Methods of Breast Strain Elastography: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Richard G. Barr, Annalisa De Silvestri, Valeria Scotti, Federica Manzoni, Chiara Rebuffi, Cristina Capittini, Carmine Tinelli

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There are 3 methods of interpreting breast strain elastography: the elastographic–to–B-mode length ratio (E/B), a 5-point color scale (5P), and the strain ratio (SR). This meta-analysis assessed which method is superior to the others. A systematic search of the medical literature was performed in July 2017. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they fulfilled the following criteria: (1) had biopsy-proven or long-term stability as the reference standard; (2) used either the E/B, 5P, or SR to interpret results; and (3) had at least 50 cases. A total of 220 records were retrieved; 60 full-text articles were examined, and 46 were included in the meta-analysis. Publication years ranged from 2007 and 2017. The quality of studies was generally high. The mean age of women was 48 years; 12,398 lesions (4242 malignant) were analyzed. For the 5P method, the sensitivity was 77 specificity, 87 positive likelihood ratio (LR), 5.3; and negative LR, 0.24. For the SR method, sensitivity was 87 specificity, 81 positive LR, 4.8; and negative LR, 0.16. For the E/B method, sensitivity was 96 specificity, 88 positive LR, 7.1; and negative LR, 0.03. Of the 3 methods, the E/B had the highest sensitivity, and the E/B and 5P had the highest specificity. With a negative LR of 0.03, the E/B method can downgrade lesions with a pretest probability of 50% to a 2% probability of malignancy.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1397-1404
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • breast
  • breast cancer
  • breast tumors
  • elastography
  • sonoelastography

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