, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1188-1199,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 03 Dec 2010

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer-response evaluation and prediction of response to treatment using dynamic contrast-enhanced and diffusion-weighted MR imaging



To explore the predictive value of MRI parameters and tumour characteristics before neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) and to compare changes in tumour size and tumour apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) during treatment, between patients who achieved pathological complete response (pCR) and those who did not.


Approval by the Regional Ethics Committee and written informed consent were obtained. Thirty-one patients with invasive breast carcinoma scheduled for NAC were enrolled (mean age, 50.7; range, 37–72). Study design included MRI before treatment (Tp0), after four cycles of NAC (Tp1) and before surgery (Tp2). Data in pCR versus non-pCR groups were compared and cut-off values for pCR prediction were evaluated.


Before NAC, HER2 overexpression was the single significant predictor of pCR (p = 0.006). At Tp1 ADC, tumour size and changes in tumour size were all significantly different in the pCR and non-pCR groups. Using 1.42 × 10−3 mm2/s as the cut-off value for ADC, pCR was predicted with sensitivity and specificity of 88% and 80%, respectively. Using a cut-off value of 83% for tumour volume reduction, sensitivity and specificity for pCR were 91% and 80%.


ADC, tumour size and tumour size reduction at Tp1 were strong independent predictors of pCR.