Usefulness of imaging findings in predicting tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in patients with breast cancer

Abstract

Objectives

Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) have been determined as a new prognostic indicator of immunotherapy response in breast cancer (BC). The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of imaging features in predicting the TIL levels in invasive BC patients.

Methods

A total of 158 patients with invasive BC were included in our study. All lesions were evaluated based on the BIRADS lexicon. US was performed for all the patients and 89 of them underwent MRI. The histologic stromal TIL (sTIL) levels were assessed and associations between the sTIL levels and imaging features were evaluated.

Results

Tumors with high sTIL levels had more circumscribed margins, round shape, heterogeneous echogenicity, and larger size on ultrasonography (p < 0.005). There was a statistically significant positive correlation between the sTIL levels and ADC value (p < 0.001). Tumors with high sTIL levels had significantly more homogeneous enhancement than the tumors with low sTIL levels (p = 0.001). Logistic regression analysis showed that the ADC was the most statistically significant parameter in predicting the sTIL levels (the odds ratio was 90.952; p = 0.002). The optimal cutoff value for ADC in predicting low and high sTIL levels was found to be 0.87 × 10−3 mm2 s−1 (AUC = 0.726, 73% specificity, and 60% sensitivity).

Conclusions

Imaging findings, especially the ADC, may play an important role as an adjunct tool in cases of uncertain situations and may improve the accuracy of biopsy results. The prediction of sTIL levels using imaging findings may give an opportunity to predict prognosis.

Key Points

• Preoperative assessment of TILs is an important biomarker of prognosis and treatment efficacy.

• ADC value can be a useful tool in distinguishing high and low sTIL levels as a non-invasive method.

• The prediction of sTIL levels using imaging findings may give an opportunity to predict prognosis and an optimal treatment for the BC patients.

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Abbreviations

ADC:

Apparent diffusion coefficient

AUC:

Area under the curve

BC:

Breast cancer

BI-RADS:

Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System

DWI:

Diffusion-weighted imaging

ER:

Estrogen receptor

HER2:

Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2

IHC:

Immunohistochemical

Lum:

Luminal

MRI:

Magnetic resonance imaging

NAC:

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy

pCR:

Pathological complete response

ROC:

Receiver operating characteristic analysis

TIL:

Tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte

TN:

Triple negative

US:

Ultrasonography

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Enago (www.enago.com) for the English language review.

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Correspondence to Filiz Çelebi.

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The scientific guarantor of this publication is the corresponding author.

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The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article.

Statistics and biometry

No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper.

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Written informed consent was not required for this study because the study was retrospective.

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Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.

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There is no overlap on the study subjects.

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• retrospective

• diagnostic or prognostic study

• performed at one institution

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Çelebi, F., Agacayak, F., Ozturk, A. et al. Usefulness of imaging findings in predicting tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in patients with breast cancer. Eur Radiol 30, 2049–2057 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00330-019-06516-x

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Keywords

  • Tumor
  • Lymphocytes
  • Breast cancer
  • Diffusion
  • Magnetic resonance imaging