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Sonographic correlations with the new molecular classification of invasive breast cancer

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Abstract

Ultrasound is a useful adjunct to mammography for the characterisation and biopsy of solid breast lesions. Protein expression profiling of breast cancer has identified specific subgroups with potential clinical, biological and therapeutic implications. The aim of this study was to determine the ultrasound correlates of these novel molecular classes of invasive breast cancer. The ultrasound findings in 358 patients with operable breast cancer were correlated with the previously described protein expression classes identified by our group using immunohistochemical (IHC) assessment of a large series of breast cancer cases in which 25 proteins of known relevance in breast cancer were assessed, including hormone receptors, HER2 status, basal and luminal markers, p53 and e-cadherin. The proportion of occult lesions was not significantly different in the two groups. Significant differences were noted between the two groups expressing luminal epithelial markers and hormone receptors (1 and 2), including a greater proportion of ill-defined, irregular and distally attenuating tumours in group 2. Tumours characterised by c-erbB2/MUC1 expression, with weak hormone receptor positivity (group 3) were also more likely to be ill defined. Tumours expressing basal markers (group 5) were less likely to have an echogenic halo. The ultrasound features of breast cancer show areas of significant correlation with molecular classes of invasive breast cancer identified by IHC analysis. The biological reasons for these findings and their implications regarding imaging protocols require further study and may enable improved detection of these lesions.

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Correspondence to I. T. H. Au-Yong.

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Au-Yong, I.T.H., Evans, A.J., Taneja, S. et al. Sonographic correlations with the new molecular classification of invasive breast cancer. Eur Radiol 19, 2342–2348 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00330-009-1418-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00330-009-1418-2

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