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The high resolution characteristic of in-line x-ray phase contrast imaging can be used in conjunction with directed ultrasound to detect small displacements in soft tissue generated by differential acoustic radiation pressure. The imaging method is based on subtraction of two x-ray images, the first image taken with, and the second taken without the presence of ultrasound. The subtraction enhances phase contrast features and, to a large extent, removes absorption contrast so that differential movement of tissues with different acoustic impedances or relative ultrasonic absorption is highlighted in the image. Interfacial features of objects with differing densities are delineated in the image as a result of both the displacement introduced by the ultrasound and the inherent sensitivity of x-ray phase contrast imaging to density variations. Experiments with ex vivo murine tumors and human tumor phantoms point out a diagnostic capability of the method for identifying tumors.