Do clinical, histological or immunohistochemical primary tumour characteristics translate into different 18F-FDG PET/CT volumetric and heterogeneity features in stage II/III breast cancer?
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The aim of this retrospective study was to determine if some features of baseline 18F-FDG PET images, including volume and heterogeneity, reflect clinical, histological or immunohistochemical characteristics in patients with stage II or III breast cancer (BC).
Included in the present retrospective analysis were 171 prospectively recruited patients with stage II/III BC treated consecutively at Saint-Louis hospital. Primary tumour volumes were semiautomatically delineated on pretreatment 18F-FDG PET images. The parameters extracted included SUVmax, SUVmean, metabolically active tumour volume (MATV), total lesion glycolysis (TLG) and heterogeneity quantified using the area under the curve of the cumulative histogram and textural features. Associations between clinical/histopathological characteristics and 18F-FDG PET features were assessed using one-way analysis of variance. Areas under the ROC curves (AUC) were used to quantify the discriminative power of the features significantly associated with clinical/histopathological characteristics.
T3 tumours (>5 cm) exhibited higher textural heterogeneity in 18F-FDG uptake than T2 tumours (AUC <0.75), whereas there were no significant differences in SUVmax and SUVmean. Invasive ductal carcinoma showed higher SUVmax values than invasive lobular carcinoma (p = 0.008) but MATV, TLG and textural features were not discriminative. Grade 3 tumours had higher FDG uptake (AUC 0.779 for SUVmax and 0.694 for TLG), and exhibited slightly higher regional heterogeneity (AUC 0.624). Hormone receptor-negative tumours had higher SUV values than oestrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) and progesterone receptor-positive tumours, while heterogeneity patterns showed only low-level variation according to hormone receptor expression. HER-2 status was not associated with any of the image features. Finally, SUVmax, SUVmean and TLG significantly differed among the three phenotype subgroups (HER2-positive, triple-negative and ER-positive/HER2-negative BCs), but MATV and heterogeneity metrics were not discriminative.
SUV parameters, MATV and textural features showed limited correlations with clinical and histopathological features. The three main BC subgroups differed in terms of SUVs and TLG but not in terms of MATV and heterogeneity. None of the PET-derived metrics offered high discriminative power.
Keywords18F-FDG PET/CT Heterogeneity Textural features Breast cancer
Compliance with ethical standards
This work received French government support granted to the CominLabs excellence laboratory and managed by the National Research Agency in the "Investing for the Future" programme under reference ANR-10-LABX-07-01.
Conflicts of interest
Research involving human participants and/or animals
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the principles of the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this retrospective study formal consent was not required.
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