Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Elemental and phase composition of breast calcifications
Author: Scott, Robert
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Despite the importance of calcifications in early detection of breast cancer, and their proposed association with tumour growth, remarkably little detail is known about their chemical composition, or how this relates to pathology. One reason for this gap is the difficulty of systematically and precisely locating calcifications for analysis, particularly in sections taken from diagnostic archives. Two simple methods were developed which can achieve this in sections cut from wax embedded breast tissue. These are based on micro-CT and x-ray fluoroscopy mapping, and were used to locate calcifications for further study. The elemental composition of calcifications in histological sections was measured using energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy in an environmental scanning electron microscope. Variations in Ca:P ratio could in principle be detected non-invasively by dual energy absorptiometry, as demonstrated in a proof of principle experiment. However, the Ca:P ratio was found to lie in a narrow range similar to bone, with no significant difference between benign and malignant. In contrast, a substantial and significant difference in Na:Ca ratio was found between benign and malignant specimens. This has potential for revealing malignant changes in the vicinity of a core needle biopsy. The phase composition and crystallographic parameters within calcifications was measured using synchrotron x-ray diffraction. This is the first time crystallite size and lattice parameters have been measured in breast calcifications, and it was found that these both parallel closely the changes in these parameters with age observed in foetal bone. It was also discovered that these calcifications contain a small proportion of magnesium whitlockite, and that this proportion increases from benign, to carcinoma in-situ, to invasive cancer. When combined with other recent evidence on the effect of magnesium on hydroxyapatite precipitation, this suggests a mechanism explaining observations that carbonate levels within breast calcifications are lower in malignant specimens.
Supervisor: Rogers, Keith ; Kendall, Catherine ; Stone, Nicholas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available