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Volume 18, Issue 2, Pages 167-176

Human breast tissue characterisation with small-angle X-ray scattering

M. Fernández,1,5 J. Keyriläinen,1,2 M.-L. Karjalainen-Lindsberg,3 M. Leidenius,4 K. von Smitten,4 S. Fiedler,5 and P. Suortti1

1Department of Physical Sciences, POB 64, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
2Department of Physics, HUCH Cancer Center, Helsinki University Central Hospital, POB 180, FIN-00029 HUS, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Pathology, HUCH Laboratory Diagnostics, Helsinki University Central Hospital, POB 400, FIN-00029 HUS, Helsinki, Finland
4Department of Surgery, Maria Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital, POB 580, FIN-00029 HUS, Helsinki, Finland
5European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, BP 220, F-38043 Grenoble, France

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) patterns from breast tissue samples are compared with their histology. Formalin fixed human breast tissue specimens containing ductal and lobular carcinoma were studied. Histo-pathological information is compared with the scattering data, and there is a clear spatial correlation. Supra-molecular organisation of collagen fibrils is modelled and the model is used to create scattering maps. The model parameters include the axial periodicity (d-spacing), radius and packing of the fibrils, and these are derived from comparison with the experimental scattering patterns. The d-spacing is to 0.5% larger in malignant zones of the tumours than in the healthy zones. There are also characteristic differences in the fibril diameter and packing.