Assessing residual cancer cells using MRI and US after preoperative chemotherapy in primary breast cancer to omit surgery
Enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasonography (US) are used to assess residual lesions after preoperative chemotherapy before surgery. However, residual lesion assessments based on preoperative imaging often differ from postoperative pathologic diagnoses. We retrospectively reviewed the accuracy of preoperative residual lesion assessments, including ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) cases to find criteria for cases in which surgery can be omitted.
We reviewed 201 patients who received preoperative chemotherapy and surgery in our hospital from January 2013 to November 2016. Presurgical evaluations regarding the possible existence of residual lesions, and clinical Complete Response (cCR) or non-cCR, were compared with postoperative pathological diagnoses.
Of the 201 patients, 52 were diagnosed with cCR, and 39 with pathological complete response (pCR). Predictions for residual lesions were 86.4% sensitive, 76.9% specific, and 84.6% accurate. When patients were divided into 4 groups by estrogen receptor (ER) and HER2 status, sensitivity in each group was ER+/HER2−: 91.4%; ER−/HER2−: 94.1%; ER+/HER2+: 78.6%; and ER−/HER2+: 78.5%. Of the 22 patients preoperatively assessed with cCR, but diagnosed with non-pCR, the median invasive residual tumor size was 2 mm (range 0–46 mm); 5 patients (22.7%) had only DCIS.
Predicting residual lesions after preoperative chemotherapy by using MRI and US is a reasonable strategy. However, current methods are inadequate for identifying patients who can omit surgery; therefore, a new strategy for detecting small tumors in these patients is needed.
KeywordsBreast cancer Clinically complete response Pathologically complete response Preoperative chemotherapy
The authors thank all the staff from the Departments of Breast Oncology and Pathology, Aichi Cancer Center Hospital, for their help in collecting the clinical data. We also extend special thanks to Mr. David Ujike and Asuka Kropp M.D. for their help.
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
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