Purpose: To study the feasibility of low dose x‐ray contrast enhanced digital mammography (CEDM) with gold nanoparticles as a contrast agent. Method and Materials: Contrast enhanced digital mammography (CEDM) with iodine based agents is currently being explored. However, novel materials such as gold nanoparticles seem very promising for CEDM because of their high x‐ray absorption in the mammographic energy range. Computer generated volumetric breast compositions of 50% and 75% mean glandular fractions and thickness of 5 and 7.5 cm were analytically ray‐traced at various mono‐energetic conditions and spectrally combined with simulated power‐law noise to create 2D projection images with mammogram‐like texture at 100 micron pixel resolution. The projection images were modified in accordance with the system resolution and noise power spectrum of a clinical full‐field digital mammography system (Senographe 2000D, GE Healthcare, WI) and used to generate image data sets. A 6 mm diameter spherical lesion with an inherent glandular fraction of 65% and 100% was used for the 50% and 75% glandular breast conditions respectively. Lesions with contrast agent concentrations of 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 mg/cc were generated. A 26 kVp, Mo/Mo and 31 kVp, Rh/Rh x‐ray spectra were used to generate full‐dose images (∼2 mGy mean glandular dose) for the 5 and 7.5 cm‐thick breasts respectively. A Laguerre‐Gauss Channelized Hotelling observer (LG‐CHO) was implemented to compute the signal‐to‐noise ratio (SNR). Results: Good contrast visualization was observed at ∼0.13 mGy per image frame with CEDM. Contrast agent concentrations between 0.5–2 mg/cc in the lesion resulted in much higher SNRs compared to full dose mammography. Conclusion: This work suggests favorable properties for gold nanoparticles as an x‐ray contrast agent for CEDM. This could potentially benefit high‐risk patient groups such as women with dense breasts. Other potential applications include progress monitoring in neo‐adjuvant treatment regimens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging