Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men in Europe and the USA. Some prostate tumours are regarded as stiffer than the surrounding normal tissue, and therefore it is of interest to be able to reliably measure prostate tissue stiffness. The methods presently used to detect prostate cancer are inexact, and new techniques are needed. In this licentiate thesis resonance sensor technology, with its ability to measure tissue stiffness, was applied to normal and cancerous prostate tissue.
A piezoelectric transducer element in a feedback system can be set to vibrate at its resonance frequency. When the sensor element contacts an object a change in the resonance frequency is observed, and this feature has been utilized in sensor systems to describe physical properties of different objects. For medical applications it has been used to measure stiffness variations due to various pathophysiological conditions.
An impression-controlled resonance sensor system was used to quantify stiffness in human prostate tissue in vitro using a combination of frequency change and force measurements. Measurements on prostate tissue showed statistically significant (p < 0.001) and reproducible differences between normal healthy tissue and tumour tissue when using a multivariate parameter analysis. Measured stiffness varied in both the normal tissue and tumour tissue group. One source of variation was assumed to be related to differences in tissue composition. Other sources of error could be uneven surfaces, different levels of dehydration of the prostates, and actual differences between patients.
The prostate specimens were also subjected to morphometric measurements, and the sensor parameter was compared with the morphology of the tissue with linear regression. In the probe impression interval 0.5–1.7 mm, the maximum coefficient of determination was R2 ≥ 0.60 (p < 0.05, n = 75). An increase in the proportion of prostate stones (corpora amylacea), stroma, or cancer in relation to healthy glandular tissue increased the measured stiffness. Cancer and stroma had the greatest effect on the measured stiffness. The deeper the sensor was pressed, the greater, i.e., deeper, volume it sensed.
It is concluded that prostate cancer increases the measured stiffness as compared with healthy glandular tissue, but areas with predominantly stroma or many stones could be more difficult to differentiate from cancer. Furthermore, the results of this study indicated that the resonance sensor could be used to detect stiffness variations in human prostate tissue in vitro, and especially due to prostate cancer. This is promising for the development of a future diagnostic tool for prostate cancer.
Umeå: Fysik , 2006. , 47 p.