Survival is associated with complete response on MRI after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in ER-positive HER2-negative breast cancer

Loo, Claudette E, Rigter, Lisanne S, Pengel, Kenneth E, Wesseling, Jelle, Rodenhuis, Sjoerd, Peeters, Marie-Jeanne T F D Vrancken, Sikorska, Karolina, Gilhuijs, Kenneth G A


Breast Cancer Research 18 (1),


BACKGROUND: Pathological complete remission (pCR) of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer is rarely achieved after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC). In addition, the prognostic value of pCR for this breast cancer subtype is limited. We explored whether response evaluation by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is associated with recurrence-free survival after NAC in ER-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer.

METHODS: MRI examinations were performed in 272 women with ER-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer before, during and after NAC. MRI interpretation included lesion morphology at baseline, changes in morphology and size, and contrast uptake kinetics. These MRI features, clinical characteristics and final pathology were correlated with recurrence-free survival.

RESULTS: The median follow up time was 41 months. There were 35 women with events, including 19 breast-cancer-related deaths. On multivariable analysis, age younger than 50 years (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.55, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.3, 5.02, p = 0.007), radiological complete response after NAC (HR = 14.11, CI 1.81, 1818; p = 0.006) and smaller diameters of washout/plateau enhancement at MRI after NAC (HR = 1.02, CI 1.00, 1.04, p = 0.036) were independently associated with best recurrence-free survival. Pathological response was not significant; HR = 2.12, CI 0.86, 4.64, p = 0.096.

CONCLUSIONS: MRI after NAC in ER-positive/HER2-negative tumors may be predictive of recurrence-free survival. A radiological complete response at MRI after NAC is associated with an excellent prognosis.