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Diagn Interv Radiol. 2015 Nov-Dec;21(6):448-53. doi: 10.5152/dir.2015.14515.

The role of ultrasonographic findings to predict molecular subtype, histologic grade, and hormone receptor status of breast cancer.

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Department of Radiology, Florence Nightingale Hospital, İstanbul, Turkey.



The correlation between imaging findings and pathologic characteristics of tumors may provide information for diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The aim of this study is to determine whether ultrasound features of breast cancer are associated with molecular subtype, histologic grade, and hormone receptor status, as well as assess the predictive value of these features.


A total of 201 consecutive invasive breast cancer patients were reviewed from the database according to the Breast Imaging and Reporting Data System (BI-RADS). Tumor margins were classified as circumscribed and noncircumscribed. Noncircumscribed group was divided into indistinct, spiculated, angular, and microlobulated. The posterior acoustic features were divided into four categories: shadowing, enhancement, no change, and mixed pattern.


Tumors with posterior shadowing were more likely to be of nontriple negative subtype (odds ratio [OR], 7.42; 95% CI, 2.10-24.99; P = 0.002), low histologic grade (grade 1 or 2 vs. grade 3: OR, 2.42; 95% CI, 1.34-4.35; P = 0.003) and having at least one positive receptor (OR, 3.36; 95% CI, 1.55-7.26; P = 0.002). Tumors with circumscribed margins were more often triple-negative subtype (OR, 6.72; 95% CI, 2.56-17.65; P < 0.001), high grade (grade 3 vs. grade 1 or 2: OR, 5.42; 95% CI, 2.66-11.00; P < 0.001) and hormone receptor negative (OR, 4.87; 95% CI, 2.37-9.99; P < 0.001).


Sonographic features are strongly associated with molecular subtype, histologic grade, and hormone receptor status of the tumor. These findings may separate triple-negative breast cancer from other molecular subtypes.

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