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Normal and malignant mammary epithelial cells were studied using laboratory measurements, wavelet analysis, and numerical simulations of monolayercell cultures to determine whether microscopic breast cancer can be detected in vitro with high-frequency ultrasound. Pulse-echo waveforms were acquired by immersing a broadband, unfocused 50-MHz transducer in the growth media of cell culture well plates and collecting the first reflection from the well bottoms. The simulations included a multilayer pulse-reflection model and a model of two-dimensional arrays of spherical cells and nuclei. The results show that normal and malignant cells produce time-domain signals and spectral features that are significantly different.


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