Breast Study to Learn More About the Application of Optical Transillumination Measurements to Assess Breast Cancer Risk and to Potentially Detect the Presence of Breast Cancer.


This study aims to evaluate if a light based technique, called Transillumination Breast Spectroscopy (TIBS), can be used to construct a non-invasive breast cancer risk predictor which provides a better odds ratio than mammographic parenchymal density.

Full Title of Study: “Transillumination for Breast Cancer Risk Assessment”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Observational
  • Study Design
    • Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional
  • Study Primary Completion Date: March 2009

Detailed Description

In a previous cross sectional study in a group of women without breast cancer and with varying degrees of parenchymal density patterns, a strong association was demonstrated between Transillumination Breast Spectroscopy (TIBS) and x-ray derived mammographic density. From this, we expect that TIBS should also provide a comparable odds ratio (4-6) as mammographic density for breast cancer risk shown in other independent epidemiological studies. It is possible that TIBS may provide complementary information and a higher odds ratio if compared to the incidence of breast cancer. In contrast to mammography derived parenchymal density pattern, no historical TIBS data is available for a retrospective analysis and hence a cross sectional study within a group of screened women is proposed. We hypothesize that TIBS provides physical information about the breast tissue which can be used to construct a breast cancer risk predictor with an odd ratio > 6.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • 1
    • Women with confirmed unilateral breast carcinoma or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
  • 2
    • Women without radiological suspicious lesions, matched to cases by age (± 2.5 years), date of screening mammogram, and screening center.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Are in good health and capable of providing consent – Are willing to come in to the Princess Margaret Hospital for a single visit to meet with a female research assistant Exclusion Criteria:

  • Have had breast augmentation or reduction – Have a personal history of breast cancer – Have had a previous bilateral fine needle aspiration or core biopsy – Have a breast tattoo

Gender Eligibility: Female

Minimum Age: 30 Years

Maximum Age: 70 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University Health Network, Toronto
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Dr. Lothar Lilge, University Health Network
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Lothar Lilge, PhD, Principal Investigator, Ontario Cancer Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2M9; Department of Biophysics and Bioimaging, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2M9


Blyschak K, Simick M, Jong R, Lilge L. Classification of breast tissue density by optical transillumination spectroscopy: optical and physiological effects governing predictive value. Med Phys. 2004 Jun;31(6):1398-414.

Simick MK, Jong R, Wilson B, Lilge L. Non-ionizing near-infrared radiation transillumination spectroscopy for breast tissue density and assessment of breast cancer risk. J Biomed Opt. 2004 Jul-Aug;9(4):794-803.

Blackmore KM, Knight JA, Jong R, Lilge L. Assessing breast tissue density by transillumination breast spectroscopy (TIBS): an intermediate indicator of cancer risk. Br J Radiol. 2007 Jul;80(955):545-56. Epub 2007 May 30.

Simick MK, Lilge L. Optical transillumination spectroscopy to quantify parenchymal tissue density: an indicator for breast cancer risk. Br J Radiol. 2005 Nov;78(935):1009-17.

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