Posts Tagged ‘treatment of breast cancer’

New Imaging device bears a promise for better quality control of breast-cancer lumpectomies – considering the cost impact

Author and Curator: Dror Nir, PhD

Couple of days ago I have posted on breast-cancer mammography screening and associated costs; Not applying evidence-based medicine drives up the costs of screening for breast-cancer in the USA. Treatment of breast-cancer represents much heavier cost-burden. According to the following publication: Variability in Reexcision Following Breast Conservation Surgery made in JAMA: “Failure to achieve appropriate margins at the initial operation will require additional surgery with re-excision rate estimates ranging from 30% to 60%. These additional operations can produce considerable psychological, physical, and economic stress for patients and delay use of recommended adjuvant therapies. A high percentage (10%-36%) of women requiring reexcision undergo total mastectomy. Thus, the effect of reexcision on altering a patient’s initial treatment of choice is significant.”

 Considering that ~70% of the 285,000 new patients diagnosed with breast cancer each year undergoes lumpectomy, this data represents significant cost. Not to mention morbidity, stress and reduce quality of life for the patients. In my post Optical Coherent Tomography – emerging technology in cancer patient management I discussed the potential of OCT in controlling the quality of lumpectomies in-situ. A workflow that represents potential to reduce the costs of repeated lumpectomies.

Last week, Dune Medical Devices, Inc., the company that developed the MarginProbeTM System, an intra-operative tissue assessment device to be used as accessory during lumpectomies of early-stage breast cancer, has received Premarket Approval (PMA) by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

MarginProbe system


FDA approval of the MarginProbe System was based on a 664 patient prospective, multi-center, randomized, double arm study to evaluate the effectiveness of MarginProbe in identifying cancerous tissue along the margins of removed breast tissue during initial lumpectomy procedures. MarginProbe, which uses electromagnetic “signatures” to identify healthy and cancerous tissue, was found to be over three times more effective in finding cancer on the margin during lumpectomy, compared to traditional intra-operative imaging and palpation assessment. This enabled surgeons to significantly reduce the number of patients with positive margins following initial surgery.

The following publication gives an idea on the clinical performance of MarginProbe:

J Surg Res. 2010 May 15;160(2):277-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2009.02.025. Epub 2009 Mar 31.

Diagnostic performance of a novel device for real-time margin assessment in lumpectomy specimens.

Pappo ISpector RSchindel AMorgenstern SSandbank JLeider LTSchneebaum SLelcuk SKarni T.


Department of General Surgery, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Zrifin, Israel. pappo@zahav.net.il



Margin status in breast lumpectomy procedures is a prognostic factor for local recurrence and the need to obtain clear margins is often a cause for repeated surgical procedures. A recently developed device for real-time intraoperative margin assessment (MarginProbe; Dune Medical Devices, Caesarea, Israel), was clinically tested. The work presented here looks at the diagnostic performance of the device.


The device was applied to freshly excised lumpectomy and mastectomy specimens at specific tissue measurement sites. These measurement sites were accurately marked, cut out, and sent for histopathologic analysis. Device readings (positive or negative) were compared with histology findings (namely malignant, containing any microscopically detected tumor, or nonmalignant) on a per measurement site basis. The sensitivity and specificity of the device was computed for the full dataset and for additional relevant subgroups.


A total of 869 tissue measurement sites were obtained from 76 patients, 753 were analyzed, of which 165 were cancerous and 588 were nonmalignant. Device performance on relatively homogeneous sites was: sensitivity 1.00 (95% CI: 0.85-1), specificity 0.87 (95% CI: 0.83-0.90). Performance for the full dataset was: sensitivity 0.70 (95% CI: 0.63-0.77), specificity 0.70 (95% CI: 0.67-0.74). Device sensitivity was estimated to change from 56% to 97% as the cancer feature size increased from 0.7 mm to 6.6 mm. Detection rate of samples containing pure DCIS clusters was not different from rates of samples containing IDC.


The device has high sensitivity and specificity in distinguishing between normal and cancer tissue even down to small cancer features.

Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 19628225

Imagine how cost effective breast cancer management can be if it will involve systems such as these in addition to the systems I discussed in some of my previous posts, for example: What could transform an underdog into a winner?

Written by: Dror Nir, PhD.

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