To evaluate the value of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (18F-FDG PET/CT) and pretherapeutic Ki67 in predicting pathologic response in locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC).
As a training set, total 301 LABC patients treated with NAC were retrospectively analyzed to evaluate the potential predictive value of pretherapeutic Ki67 for pathologic complete response (pCR) after NAC. Another 60 LABC patients were prospectively included as a validation set to evaluate the value of Ki67 combined PET/CT as pCR predictors. Ki67 was assessed in pretherapy core needle biopsy specimens and PET/CT scans were performed at baseline (before initiating NAC), after the 2nd, and 4th cycle of NAC. Maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) and its changes relative to baseline (ΔSUVmax%) were used as parameters of PEC/CT.
In the training set, Ki67 was a predictor of pCR to NAC, with area under the curve (AUC) of 0.624 (P = 0.003) in receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. In the validation set, Ki67 alone did not show significant value in predicting pCR in the validation set. ΔSUVmax% after then 2nd or 4th course are predictors of pCR to NAC with the AUC of 0.774 (P = 0.002) and 0.791 (P = 0.002), respectively. When combined with ΔSUVmax% after the 2nd and 4th course NAC, Ki67 increased the value of ΔSUVmax% in predicting pCR with the AUC of 0.824 (P = 0.001). Baseline SUVmax and after 2nd, 4th course NAC had no predictive value for pCR, but SUVmax after the 2nd and 4th course showed remarkable predictive value for nonpathologic response (Grade 1 in Miller-Payne Grading System) with the AUC of 0.898 (P = 0.0001) and 0.801 (P = 0.003).
Both PET/CT and Ki67 can predict pCR to NAC in LABC patients in the early phases of treatment. PET/CT combined Ki67 is a better pCR predictor for response to NAC. This helps the physician to predict the probability of pCR, and facilitates the optimization of individual treatment plan in case of ineffective and/or excessive chemotherapy.