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Indian J Radiol Imaging. 2016 Oct-Dec;26(4):475-481. doi: 10.4103/0971-3026.195793.

Accuracy of MRI for prediction of response to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy in triple negative breast cancer compared to other subtypes of breast cancer.

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  • 1The Breast Centre, University Hospital of Llandough, Penarth, United Kingdom.



The aim of this study was to compare the accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the prediction of response to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy in triple negative (TN) breast cancer, with respect to other subtypes.


There were a total of 1610 breast cancers diagnosed between March 2009 and August 2014, out of which 82 patients underwent MRI before and after neo-adjuvant chemotherapy but just before surgery. TN cancers were analyzed with respect to others subtypes. Accuracy of MRI for prediction of pathological complete response was compared between different subtypes by obtaining receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 21 was used for all data analysis, with P value of 0.05 as statistically significant.


Out of 82 patients, 29 were luminal (HR+/HER2-), 23 were TN (HR-, HER2-), 11 were HER2 positive (HR-, HER2+), and 19 were of hybrid subtype (HR+/HER2+). TN cancers presented as masses on the pre-chemotherapy MRI scan, were grade 3 on histopathology, and showed concentric shrinkage following chemotherapy. TN cancers were more likely to have both imaging and pathological complete response following chemotherapy (P = 0.055) in contrast to luminal cancers, which show residual cancer. ROC curves were constructed for the prediction of pathological complete response with MRI. For the TN subgroup, MR had a sensitivity of 0.745 and specificity of 0.700 (P = 0.035), with an area under curve of 0.745 (95% confidence interval: 0.526-0.965), which was significantly better compared to other subtypes.


TN breast cancers present as masses and show concentric shrinkage following chemotherapy. MRI is most accurate in predicting response to chemotherapy in the TN group, compared to others subtypes. MRI underestimates residual disease in luminal cancers.


Breast; MRI; chemotherapy

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