International Journal of Medical Sciences

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20 January 2019

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Int J Med Sci 2005; 2(3):118-121. doi:10.7150/ijms.2.118

Short Research Communication

Application of Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) for Differentiation between Normal and Cancerous Breast Tissue

Vahid Changizi1, Mohammad A. Oghabian1, Robert Speller2, Saeed Sarkar1, Ali Arab Kheradmand1

1. Department of Medical Physics, Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, & Research Center for Science & Technology in Medicine, Imam Khomaini Hospital, Bolvare Keshavarz, Tehran, Iran
2. Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK


Introduction: Small angle, between 3° and 10°, X ray scattering is predominantly coherent giving rise to diffraction effects that can be observed as constructive and destructive interferences. These interferences carry information about the molecular structure of the tissue and hence can be used to identify changes that occur due to cancer.

Method: In this study an energy dispersive X-ray diffraction method was used. The optimum scattering angle, determined from a series of measurements on adipose breast tissue at several angles from 4 to 7.3 degrees, was found to be 6.5°. Once optimized the system was used to measure the diffraction profiles (corrected scattered intensity versus momentum transfer) of a total of 99 breast tissue samples. The samples were both normal and tumour samples.

Results: Adipose tissue showed a sharp, high intensity peak at low momentum transfer values of approximately 1.1nm-1. Adipose tissue, mixed tissue (adipose & fibroglandular) and tumor have peaks at different values of momentum transfer that can be used to identify the tissue. Benign and malignant breast tissues can also be differentiated by both peak positions and peak heights. It was also observed that the results were reproducible even after the tissue had been preserved at liquid nitrogen temperatures.

Conclusion: We were able to differentiate between normal, benign and malignant breast tissues by using energy dispersive small angle x-ray scattering.

Keywords: small angle x-ray scattering, normal and cancerous breast tissues

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How to cite this article:
Changizi V, Oghabian MA, Speller R, Sarkar S, Kheradmand AA. Application of Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) for Differentiation between Normal and Cancerous Breast Tissue. Int J Med Sci 2005; 2(3):118-121. doi:10.7150/ijms.2.118. Available from