Changes in primary breast cancer heterogeneity may augment midtreatment MR imaging assessment of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

PMID 24654970


To evaluate whether changes in magnetic resonance (MR) imaging heterogeneity may aid assessment for pathologic complete response (pCR) to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) in primary breast cancer and to compare pCR with standard Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors response. Institutional review board approval, with waiver of informed consent, was obtained for this retrospective analysis of 36 consecutive female patients, with unilateral unifocal primary breast cancer larger than 2 cm in diameter who were receiving sequential anthracycline-taxane NACT between October 2008 and October 2012. T2- and T1-weighted dynamic contrast material-enhanced MR imaging was performed before, at midtreatment (after three cycles), and after NACT. Changes in tumor entropy (irregularity) and uniformity (gray-level distribution) were determined before and after MR image filtration (for different-sized features). Entropy and uniformity for pathologic complete responders and nonresponders were compared by using the Mann-Whitney U test and receiver operating characteristic analysis. With NACT, there was an increase in uniformity and a decrease in entropy on T2-weighted and contrast-enhanced subtracted T1-weighted MR images for all filters (uniformity: 23.45% and 22.62%; entropy: -19.15% and -19.26%, respectively). There were eight complete pathologic responders. An area under the curve of 0.84 for T2-weighted MR imaging entropy and uniformity (P = .004 and .003) and 0.66 for size (P = .183) for pCR was found, giving a sensitivity and specificity of 87.5% and 82.1% for entropy and 87.5% and 78.6% for uniformity compared with 50% and 82.1%, respectively, for tumor size change for association with pCR. Tumors become more homogeneous with treatment. An increase in T2-weighted MR imaging uniformity and a decrease in T2-weighted MR imaging entropy following NACT may provide an earlier indication of pCR than tumor size change.