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Predictive Value of the Time–Intensity Curves on Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Lymphatic Spreading in Breast Cancer

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Dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (CE-MRI) has emerged as a promising diagnostic modality in various breast cancer treatments. However, little is known about the correlation between the pattern of time to signal intensity curves (TIC) on the CE-MRI and clinicopathologic features. This study was designed to investigate these correlations and evaluate the predictive value of TIC on CE-MRI in order to identify high-risk patients.


Between 2001 and 2003, 101 lesions were evaluated to detect malignancy on CE-MRI in 101 women who were suspected of having breast tumors based on either clinical findings or conventional imaging studies. Moreover, the clinicopathologic findings were compared with the pattern of TIC for the 69 surgically treated malignant lesions.


In detecting malignancy, the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 78.7%, 88.5%, and 81.2%, respectively, in the 101 breast lesions. Especially for the 69 surgically treated malignant lesions, in comparison with breast cancer tumors with the benign pattern of TIC, the breast cancer tumors with a malignant pattern were found more frequently in lymphatic invasion (P < 0.01) and lymph node metastasis (P < 0.005), although no statistical correlation regarding the histological type, tumor size, vascular invasion, extensive intraductal component, hormone receptor status, or pathological stage was noted between the two groups. According to a logistic regression model, lymph node metastasis was found to be a significant independent variable.


The pattern of TIC could be used to predict lymphatic spreading associated with lymph node metastasis prior to surgery as well as to detect malignancy. Therefore, a more detailed evaluation should be made to identify the presence of lymphatic spreading in patients with a malignant pattern of TIC.

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This study was presented at the 103rd Annual Congress of the Japan Surgical Society, Sapporo, Hokkaido, June 4–6, 2003

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Komatsu, S., Lee, C., Ichikawa, D. et al. Predictive Value of the Time–Intensity Curves on Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Lymphatic Spreading in Breast Cancer. Surg Today 35, 720–724 (2005).

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