Role of dynamic contrast enhanced MRI in monitoring early response of locally advanced breast cancer to neoadjuvant chemotherapy
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy has become the standard treatment for patients with locally advanced breast cancer; however a technique that can accurately differentiate responders from non-responders at an early time point during treatment has still to be identified. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the ability of pharmacokinetically modelled dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI data to predict and monitor response of patients diagnosed with locally advanced breast cancer to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, at an early time point during treatment. Sixty-eight patients with histology proven breast cancer underwent MRI examination prior to treatment, early during treatment and following the final cycle of chemotherapy. A two compartment pharmacokinetic model provided the kinetic parameters transfer constant (Ktrans), rate constant (Kep) and extracellular extravascular space (Ve) for a region of interest encompassing the whole lesion (ROIwhole) and a 3 × 3 pixel ‘hot-spot’ showing the greatest mean maximum percentage enhancement from within that region (ROIhs). Following treatment 48 patients were classified as responders and 20 as non-responders based on total tumour volume reduction. Tumour volume changes between the pre-treatment and early treatment time points demonstrated differences between responders and non-responders with percentage change revealing the most significant result (p < 0.001). Analysis based on ROIhsprovided more statistically significant differences between responders and non-responders then ROIwhole analysis. ROIhs analysis demonstrated differences between responders and non-responders both prior to and early during treatment. A highly significant reduction in both Ktrans and Kep (p < 0.001) was noted for responders between the pre-treatment and early treatment time points, while Ve significantly increased during the same time period for non-responders (p < 0.001). Quantification of dynamic contrast enhancement parameters provides a potential means for differentiating responders from non-responders early during their treatment, thereby allowing a prompt change in treatment if necessary.
Keywordsbreast cancer Kep Ktrans neoadjuvant pharmacokinetic response Ve
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