Background: Increasing numbers of breast cancer patients receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). We seek to investigate whether baseline mammographic and ultrasound features are associated with complete pathological response (pCR) after NACT.
Methods: A database of NACT patients was reviewed. Baseline imaging parameters assessed were ultrasound: posterior effect; echo pattern; margin and lesion diameter; mammography: spiculation and microcalcification. Core biopsy grade and immunophenotype were documented. Data were analysed for the whole study group and by immunophenotype.
Results: Of the 222 cancers, 83 (37%) were triple negative (TN), 61 (27%) ER positive/HER-2 negative and 78 (35%) HER-2 positive. A pCR occurred in 46 of 222 cancers (21%). For the whole group, response was associated with high core biopsy grade (grade 3 vs. grade 1 or 2) (26% vs. 9%, p = 0.0044), absence of posterior shadowing on ultrasound (26% vs. 10%, p < 0.001) and the absence of mammographic spiculation (26 vs. 6%, p < 0.001). Within the HER-2 positive group; the absence of shadowing and spiculation remained highly associated with pCR, in addition to small ultrasound size (AUC = 0.71, p < 0.001) and the absence of microcalcification (39% vs. 21%, p < 0.02). On multivariable analysis absence of spiculation and core grade remained significant for the whole cohort, size and absence of spiculation remained significant for HER-2 positive tumours. No feature predicted pCR in TN tumours.
Conclusion: A pCR is less likely when there is mammographic spiculation. Small ultrasound size is associated with pCR in HER-2 positive tumours. These findings may be helpful when discussing NACT and surgical options with patients.
Trial registration: UK Clinical Trials Gateway: registration number 16712.
- Breast carcinoma
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy
- Pathological complete response