European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging 2017 07 15() doi 10.1007/s00259-017-3770-9
The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of imaging features derived from [(18)F]FDG-PET/CT to provide in vivo characterization of breast cancer (BC).
Images from 43 patients with a first diagnosis of BC were reviewed. Images were acquired before any treatment. Histological data were derived from pretreatment biopsy or surgical histological specimen; these included tumor type, grade, ER and PgR receptor status, lymphovascular invasion, Ki67 index, HER2 status, and molecular subtype. Standard parameters (SUVmean, TLG, MTV) and advanced imaging features (histogram-based and shape and size features) were evaluated. Univariate analysis, hierarchical clustering analysis, and exact Fisher’s test were used for statistical analysis of data. Imaging-derived metrics were reduced evaluating the mutual correlation within group of features as well as the mutual correlation between groups of features to form a signature.
A significant correlation was found between some advanced imaging features and the histological type. Different molecular subtypes were characterized by different values of two histogram-based features (median and energy). A significant association was observed between the imaging signature and luminal A and luminal B HER2 negative molecular subtype and also when considering luminal A, luminal B HER2-negative and HER2-positive groups. Similar results were found between the signature and all five molecular subtypes and also when considering the histological types of BC.
Our results suggest a complementary role of standard PET imaging parameters and advanced imaging features for the in vivo biological characterization of BC lesions.