Using Flow Characteristics in Three-Dimensional Power Doppler Ultrasound Imaging to Predict Complete Responses in Patients Undergoing Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy

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Strategies are needed for the identification of a poor response to treatment and determination of appropriate chemotherapy strategies for patients in the early stages of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. We hypothesize that power Doppler ultrasound imaging can provide useful information on predicting response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.


The solid directional flow of vessels in breast tumors was used as a marker of pathologic complete responses (pCR) in patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Thirty-one breast cancer patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and had tumors of 2 to 5 cm were recruited. Three-dimensional power Doppler ultrasound with high-definition flow imaging technology was used to acquire the indices of tumor blood flow/volume, and the chemotherapy response prediction was established, followed by support vector machine classification.


The accuracy of pCR prediction before the first chemotherapy treatment was 83.87% (area under the ROC curve [AUC] = 0.6957). After the second chemotherapy treatment, the accuracy of was 87.9% (AUC = 0.756). Trend analysis showed that good and poor responders exhibited different trends in vascular flow during chemotherapy.


This preliminary study demonstrates the feasibility of using the vascular flow in breast tumors to predict chemotherapeutic efficacy.

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