Computer Assisted Analysis of MR-Mammography Reveals Association between Contrast Enhancement and Occurrence of Distant Metastasis

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Dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) is able to detect breast cancer with high sensitivity. Furthermore, this method provides functional information on tissue composition and vascularization. This study aims to identify the potential of DCE-MRI to predict distant metastasis in breast cancer patients using computer assisted interpretation of dynamic enhancement data. For this purpose, 59 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed invasive breast cancer received pretherapeutic DCE-MRI at 1.5 Tesla according to international recommendations. In all patients, follow up interval and occurrence of distant metastasis was documented. For DCE-MRI analysis dedicated software was used (Brevis, Siemens Healthcare, Erlangen, Germany). It allows semiautomatic identification of the most suspect curve in a lesion analyzed. Enhancement parameters assessed were “Initial Enhancement”, “Washout”, “Peak-Enhancement”, and “Time to Peak Enhancement”. Cox proportional hazards regression (CPHR) was used to analyze the effect of these parameters on the probability of metachronous distant metastasis. Median follow up period was 52.0 months. 6 patients developed distant metastases between 11 and 35 months after breast cancer diagnosis. In CPHR, Washout could be identified as significant and independent predictor for occurrence of distant metastasis (P = 0.0134). Our initial data demonstrate an association between computer measured enhancement parameters in DCE-MRI and occurrence of distant metastasis by quantification of Washout.

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