Accuracy of Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Compared With Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Assessing the Tumor Response After Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

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This pilot study compared contrast enhanced ultrasound (US) with contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in assessing the treatment response in patients with breast cancer receiving preoperative neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC).


This prospective Institutional Review Board–approved and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act–compliant study included 30 patients, from January 2014 to October 2015, with invasive breast cancer detected by mammography, conventional US imaging, or both and scheduled for NAC. Informed consent was obtained. Contrast-enhanced US (perflutren lipid microspheres, 10 μL/kg) and MRI (gadopentetate dimeglumine, 0.1 mmol/kg) scans were performed at baseline before starting NAC and after completing NAC before surgery. Results of the imaging techniques were compared with each other and with histopathologic findings obtained at surgery using the Spearman correlation. Tumor size and enhancement parameters were compared for 15 patients with contrast-enhanced US, MRI, and surgical pathologic findings.


The median tumor size at baseline was 3.1 cm on both contrast-enhanced US and MRI scans. The Spearman correlation showed strong agreement in tumor size at baseline between contrast-enhanced US and MRI (r = 0.88; P < .001) but less agreement in tumor size after NAC (r = 0.66; P = .004). Trends suggested that contrast-enhanced US (r = 0.75; P < .001) had a better correlation than MRI (r = 0.42; P = .095) with tumor size at surgery. Contrast-enhanced US was as effective as MRI in predicting a complete pathologic response (4 patients; 75.0% accuracy for both) and a non–complete pathologic response (11 patients; 72.7% accuracy for both).


Contrast enhanced US is a valuable imaging modality for assessing the treatment response in patients receiving NAC and had a comparable correlation as MRI with breast cancer size at surgery.

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