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Open Access Research article

Prognostic implication of intratumoral metabolic heterogeneity in invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast

Seung Hyun Son, Do-Hoon Kim, Chae Moon Hong, Choon-Young Kim, Shin Young Jeong, Sang-Woo Lee, Jaetae Lee and Byeong-Cheol Ahn*

Author Affiliations

Department of Nuclear Medicine, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine and Hospital, 50 Samduk-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Daegu 700-721, Republic of Korea

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:585  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-585

Published: 12 August 2014

Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prognostic implication of findings of intratumoral metabolic heterogeneity on pretreatment 18F-FDG PET/CT scans in patients with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) of the breast.

Methods

One hundred and twenty-three female IDC patients who underwent pretreatment 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography/computed tomography (18F-FDG PET/CT) scans were retrospectively evaluated in this study. The heterogeneity factor (HF) defined as the derivative (dV/dT) of a volume threshold function from 40% to 80%, was computed for each primary tumor. Other metabolic PET parameters (maximum standardized uptake value [SUVmax], metabolic tumor volume [MTV], and total lesion glycolysis [TLG]) were measured. The HF was compared with clinicopathologic factors and other PET parameters. Univariate and multivariate analyses for the overall survival (OS) were performed.

Results

The HF ranged from 0.02 to 6.72 (mean, 0.35 ± 0.82) and significantly correlated with MTV (r = 0.955; p < 0.0001) and TLG (r = 0.354; p = 0.0001). The HF was significantly higher (implying more heterogeneity) in tumors with higher T and N stages. The optimal cut-off values for the OS determined using a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve were 0.34 for the HF, 5.6 for SUVmax, 8.55 cm3 for MTV, and 14.43 for TLG. The OS rate among the 123 patients was 86.2%. T stage (1, 2 vs. 3, 4), N stage (0, 1 vs. 2, 3), M stage (0 vs. 1), ER status (+ vs. –), SUVmax (≤ 5.6 vs. > 5.6), MTV (≤ 8.55 cm3 vs. > 8.55 cm3), TLG (≤ 14.43 vs. > 14.43), and HF (< 0.34 vs. ≥ 0.34) affected the OS on univariate analysis. After adjustment for the effects of TNM stage and ER status, the HF and MTV were significant predictors of OS. Among the PET parameters, the best prognostic factor for OS was the HF.

Conclusions

Intratumoral metabolic heterogeneity correlated closely with the MTV and significantly affected the OS in IDC patients. The HF may act as a robust surrogate marker for the prediction of OS in IDC patients.

Keywords:
Intratumoral metabolic heterogeneity; Heterogeneity; Invasive ductal carcinoma; Breast cancer; 18F-FDG PET/CT; Prognosis