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Is There a Correlation Between Multimodal Ultrasound Features and Molecular Breast Cancer Subtypes?

By: Emily Rhode
Posted: Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Chen et al, of Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, China, and colleagues aimed to investigate the potential correlation between multimodal ultrasound features and specific molecular subtypes of breast cancer in patients in China. In their study of patients with newly diagnosed unilateral invasive breast cancer, the results showed that different ultrasound features were associated with specific molecular subtypes of breast cancer.

“Multimodal ultrasound features could be powerful predictors of specific breast cancer molecular subtypes. The intra- and peritumor [contrast-enhanced ultrasound] features play assignable roles in separating luminal B and HER2-positive breast cancer subtypes,” the researchers stated.

Published in BMC Medical Imaging, this retrospective cohort study included 85 patients with histologically proven breast cancer who had B-mode, real-time elastography, color Doppler flow imaging and contrast-enhanced ultrasound examinations between March and November 2021. For comparison, the study focused on immunohistochemistry results of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, HER2, Ki67, and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to divide patients’ breast cancers into these four molecular subtypes: luminal A: estrogen receptor (ER)- and/or progesterone receptor (PR)-positive, HER2-negative, and Ki67 index up to 14%; luminal B: ER- and/or PR-positive, HER2-negative, and Ki67 index of at least 14% or ER- and/or PR-positive and HER2-positive; HER2-positive: HER2-positive, ER- and PR-negative; and triple-negative: ER- and PR-negative and HER2-negative.

The results showed that real-time elastography (P < .001) and color Doppler flow imaging (P = .036) were predictive of luminal A cancer subtype, whereas real-time elastography (P = .016) and the peak ratio between the intratumor and corpus mamma (P = .036) was predictive of the luminal B cancer subtype. Furthermore, the peak ratio between peritumor and intratumor (P = .039) independently predicted the HER2-positive subtype, whereas color Doppler flow imaging (P = .002) was highly predictive of the triple-negative subtype. Moreover, tumors related to the luminal A type exhibited an insufficient blood supply, whereas those with an abundant blood supply were related to triple-negative breast cancer.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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