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Quantification of Radiation-Induced Tissue Fibrosis using Ultrasound Imaging

Srikanta Sharma, a member of the member of the Imaging for Radiotherapy Adaptation team, is investigating radiation-induced fibrosis - a chronic side effect of radiotherapy given to patients with cancer which may limit the dose that is given.

Fibrosis is a genetically regulated response to tissue injury and drugs may be given to reduce its severity. Reliable measures of fibrosis are required to support research in three specific areas: i) radiotherapy dose scheduling, ii) identification of patients’ genetic susceptibility to fibrosis, and iii) clinical evaluation of anti-fibrotic therapies. Quantitative in vivo measures of treatment response are needed to support the investigation of genetic and physiological susceptibility to radiation toxicity and clinical trials evaluating anti-fibrotic, anti-angiogenic and anti-hypoxia therapies. 

This research project investigates the potential of new ultrasound based tools in vivo for assessment of radiation induced fibrosis in women following radiotherapy for breast cancer. The methods will include image analysis and quantification of imaging and ultrasound signals from unirradiated and irradiated breasts to discover imaging biomarkers of radiation-induced changes in tissue structure which may be used to support studies of new therapeutic techniques. The primary focus will be on studying ultrasound backscatter spectroscopy (UBS) and Ultrasound shear-wave elastography (USE) techniques. The differences in UBS and USE measures between radiated and irradiated breasts will be compared with clinical observations, which will allows us investigate radiation induced and dose related breast hardness, breast shrinkage and oedema. 


Source of Funding:  Royal Marsden and Institute of Cancer Research Biomedical Research Centre

Srikanta. Sharma, Jeff  Bamber, Emma Harris; in collaboration with Anna Kirby, John R. Yarnold and Liz O’Flynn of the Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Charlotte Coles, Ruchi Sinnatamby of Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, U.K and Cambridge and Cliona Kirwan of University Hospital of South Manchester and University of Manchester.