By Kate Madden Yee, staff writer
November 4, 2015

How well does sonelastography evaluate myopathy? Has the performance of ultrasound technologists improved since the first breast density notification law passed in 2009? Is the modality effective for evaluating female infertility? And which is more sensitive for localizing breast cancer in patients already diagnosed: breast MRI or whole-breast ultrasound?

Researchers will address these questions and many more at the upcoming RSNA 2015 meeting in Chicago. A key theme this year for ultrasound is using the modality either in combination with other types of imaging or on its own to diagnose disease, predict its extent, or track treatment.

Some examples? Expect to hear research on using ultrasound or MR elastography to track tendon healing, evaluate inflammatory myopathies, and help breast imagers to assess the extent of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Also presented this year will be research on using MR/ultrasound fusion to improve prostate biopsy performance and contrast ultrasound to clarify ambiguous renal CT or MR findings.

On the breast imaging side, RSNA attendees will hear about how the modality can help clinicians predict breast tumor response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, which particular features of breast cancers that are positive for the estrogen receptor manifest on ultrasound, and why follow-up ultrasound may be just fine for tracking abnormal axillary lymph nodes found on screening -- rather than putting a woman through additional axillary ultrasound imaging.

RSNA has planned a number of refresher courses to boost attendees' knowledge, including sessions on ultrasound for gynecologic and breast applications, MR-guided high-intensity focused and musculoskeletal ultrasound, using the modality for thyroid cancer, and ultrasound/photoacoustic molecular imaging.

Finally, meeting participants can check out a few "controversy sessions" that will explore hot topics, such as where ultrasound fits in the task of imaging possible appendicitis in children and whether the modality is more effective than CT for suspected renal colic.

For highlights of just some of the many ultrasound research papers and posters scheduled for presentation at this year's meeting, read on. To view RSNA's complete listing of abstracts for this year's scientific and educational program, click here.

Scientific and Educational Presentations
Fusion imaging of contrast ultrasound localizes kidney lesions
Sunday, November 29 | 11:25 a.m.-11:35 a.m. | SSA09-05 | Room E351
Fusion imaging of contrast-enhanced ultrasound can help clarify ambiguous renal CT or MR findings without exposing patients to further radiation, according to research to be presented on Sunday.
MRI plus hysterosalpingography tops ultrasound for infertility
Sunday, November 29 | 11:55 a.m.-12:05 p.m. | SSA09-08 | Room E351
MRI combined with hysterosalpingography works better than ultrasound for evaluating female infertility, researchers from Argentina have found.
Basic obstetric ultrasound helps women in poor areas
Sunday, November 29 | 12:30 p.m.-1:00 p.m. | GU200-SD-SUA1 | Lakeside Learning Center, Station 1
Women in poor communities often lack access to basic obstetric imaging. But researchers from the University of Vermont found that even minimally trained sonographers can produce diagnostic-quality obstetric ultrasound images.
Ultrasound helps predict lymph node response to therapy
Sunday, November 29 | 1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. | BR225-SD-SUB3 | Lakeside Learning Center, Station 3
Ultrasound can help predict which lymph nodes will respond to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in women with breast cancer, according to researchers from MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Breast US exam quality improves after passage of density law
Monday, November 30 | 10:00 a.m.-10:10 a.m. | RC215-08 | Arie Crown Theater
Since the first breast density notification law passed in Connecticut in 2009 -- sparking an increase in breast ultrasound exams as an adjunct to mammography -- there has been a marked improvement in the quality of these exams, with fewer false positives and a higher positive predictive value, according to research to be presented on Monday.
CAD improves radiologists' ABUS performance
Monday, November 30 | 10:10 a.m.-10:20 a.m. | RC215-09 | Arie Crown Theater
In this study, a Dutch team compared unaided radiologist readings of automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) exams with those interpreted using computer-aided detection (CAD) to determine if adding CAD as a "second reader" could help reduce unnecessary recalls.
ABUS not needed in at-risk women's screening protocol
Monday, November 30 | 10:20 a.m.-10:30 a.m. | RC215-10 | Arie Crown Theater
Women who carry BRCA genes benefit from yearly screening with both MRI and mammography. Because these women can still present with interval cancers, would adding automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) to the mix find more cancers earlier?
Screening ultrasound finds early-stage thyroid cancer
Monday, November 30 | 11:10 a.m.-11:20 a.m. | SSC09-05 | Room N229
Screening ultrasound is an effective tool for finding early-stage thyroid cancer in asymptomatic populations, according to research to be presented on Monday morning.
3D ultrasound beats 2D for identifying parathyroid glands
Monday, November 30 | 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m. | SSC09-07 | Room N229
In this session, researchers from New York will discuss how 3D ultrasound is better than 2D for localizing abnormal parathyroid glands before surgery.
Shear-wave elastography can track tendon healing
Tuesday, December 1 | 9:10 a.m.-9:20 a.m. | RC304-03 | Room E450A
Shear-wave elastography works better than B-mode or power Doppler ultrasound for guiding treatment and monitoring healing in patients with tendinopathies, according to researchers from Germany.
How well does sonoelastography assess myopathy?
Tuesday, December 1 | 10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m. | RC304-08 | Room E450A
This Tuesday morning refresher course will discuss how sonoelastography could help clinicians not only assess inflammatory myopathies, but also track their treatment.
MR/ultrasound fusion boosts prostate biopsy performance
Tuesday, December 1 | 3:10 p.m.-3:20 p.m. | SSJ10-02 | Room E353C
Using MR/ultrasound fusion improves the performance of prostate biopsies when compared with random ultrasound-guided biopsies, according to this study to be presented on Tuesday afternoon.
Ultrasound traits of partial molar pregnancy are key to patient care
Tuesday, December 1 | 3:10 p.m.-3:20 p.m. | SSJ11-02 | Room E353B
Compared with a complete molar pregnancy, partial molar pregnancy is often underdiagnosed -- making it all the more important for radiologists to be familiar with its sonographic appearance, researchers from the University of Michigan report.
Ultrasound helps predict degree of hepatic fibrosis
Tuesday, December 1 | 3:50 p.m.-4:00 p.m. | SSJ09-06 | Room E350
In this Tuesday talk, researchers from Boston will share how texture features of the liver identified on ultrasound can help clinicians predict varying degrees of hepatic fibrosis in patients with chronic liver disease.
Which is more sensitive: breast MRI or whole-breast ultrasound?
Wednesday, December 2 | 10:30 a.m.-10:40 a.m. | SSK02-01 | Room E450A
Which is more sensitive for localizing breast cancer in patients already diagnosed: bilateral whole-breast ultrasound or breast MRI? Which is more specific? Researchers from MD Anderson Cancer Center will address these questions during this Wednesday morning session.
ER-positive cancers have specific ultrasound features
Wednesday, December 2 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSK02-04 | Room E450A
Breast cancers that are positive for the estrogen receptor (ER) have particular ultrasound features that can help clinicians decide whether a patient is a good candidate for adjuvant chemotherapy, according to research that will be presented on Wednesday morning.
Follow-up ultrasound OK for abnormal nodes on breast screening
Wednesday, December 2 | 11:20 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | SSK02-06 | Room E450A
Follow-up ultrasound -- rather than additional axillary imaging -- is just fine for tracking abnormal lymph nodes found on screening breast ultrasound, as long as they do not have an extranodal extension, according to researchers from South Korea.
Breast elastography helps surgeons distinguish DCIS
Wednesday, December 2 | 3:30 p.m.-3:40 p.m. | SSM02-04 | Room E451B
This session will describe how shear-wave elastography with B-mode ultrasound can distinguish between ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive cancer, helping surgeons determine the proper extent of surgery.
Contrast ultrasound matches MRI for gauging chemo success
Wednesday, December 2 | 3:40 p.m.-3:50 p.m. | SSM02-05 | Room E451B
Contrast-enhanced ultrasound is comparable to contrast-enhanced MRI for evaluating treatment response in breast cancer patients undergoing preoperative neoadjuvant chemotherapy, according to researchers from the University of Southern California.