ESR 6: Breast Modelling and Simulation for Better Cancer Treatment

Early Stage Researcher: Arnaud Mazier
Host institution
: University of Luxembourg (UL, LU)
Supervisor: Prof. Stéphane Bordas (UL)
Co-supervisor: Benjamin Gilles, Chief Scientific Officer, AnatoScope (FR)
Cinical expertise: Dr. Gauthier Rathat, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire du Montpellier (FR)


Breast cancer impacts 1/8 of women. Tumors are localized and segmented using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in prone position, breast hanging downwards, while for practical reasons, tumor resection is performed in sitting pose. This requires a complex, invasive additional procedure to attach physical landmarks to the tumors. The goal of this project is to replace this with numerical prediction of tumor location in sitting pose, and to provide the surgeon with per-operative Augmented Reality (AR) visualization of the tumor. This is not currently possible since it requires the construction of patient-specific breast models including personalized rheology (material properties), which cannot be measured directly. The scientific challenge is to produce a novel Inverse Method to compute the parameters based on the breast surface shape in different poses, captured using a fast, noninvasive depth camera. A Finite Element model of the breast will be constructed from MRI using segmentation and registration techniques. The method will compute the rheology parameters which produce the observed shape. These will be used during the operation to infer internal tumor position based on external shape.

Expected Results

An imaging protocol for breast geometrical modeling and mechanical parameter identification (type of images, resolution, number of necessary poses, etc.). Inverse methods to identify breast material parameters and rest configurations from optical images. A breakthrough surgical
navigation system to visualize tumors inside
the patient using Augmented Reality.

Planned research stays

  • AnatoScope (5 months) research stay - data collection, medical training. FE model construction.
  • UL (20 months): Training on computer simulation. Development of inverse methods.
  • AnatoScope (5 months) research stay - validation study.
  • UL (6 months): finalize developments, thesis writing.