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MRI may be noninvasive method to measure breast cancer prognosis

SAN ANTONIO Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging measures were associated with prognostic tumor markers, demonstrating the potential of magnetic resonance imaging for prediction of disease prognosis and stratification of patients to appropriate therapies, according to preliminary data presented at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 6-10, 2011.

"Breast cancers are heterogeneous, and different subtypes of breast cancer will respond differently to therapy," said Sana Parsian, M.D., a research assistant in the department of radiology at the University of Washington in Seattle. "Every patient with breast cancer must undergo biopsy to be evaluated for the type of breast cancer they have. Based on that, adjuvant medical therapies are prescribed for them."

Parsian and her colleagues hypothesized that some quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures, such as diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE), would correlate with histopathological markers by enabling the researchers to measure the tumor's cellularity and vascularity.

In DWI, the diffusion of fluids along a field gradient reduces the MRI signal, so it can determine cellularity of the tumor by measuring the degree of water mobility. DCE enables viewers to see more information about tumor vascularity. A malignant cell group needs a blood supply to grow, and those vascular changes cause tumors to appear differently on DCE compared with normal tissue, Parsian said. The enhancement pattern seen on an MRI is called kinetics.

Researchers evaluated correlations between DWI and DCE kinetics and histopathologic markers of breast cancer determined from biopsy, such as estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor, HER2, p53 and the ki67 proliferation marker, in 41 invasive cancers among 36 patients. They found statistically significant correlations between MRI measures and all markers, except ER, which was only marg

Contact: Jeremy Moore
American Association for Cancer Research

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