Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine
Home | About IJNM | Search | Current Issue | Past Issues | Instructions | Ahead of Print | Online submissionLogin 
Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine
  Editorial Board | Subscribe | Advertise | Contact
Users Online: 73 Print this page  Email this page Small font size Default font size Increase font size


 
 Table of Contents     
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 105-109  

Role of18F-flurodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography/computed tomography in the evaluation of early response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced triple-negative breast cancer


1 Department of Radiology, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Medical Oncology, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Surgical Oncology, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission28-Dec-2019
Date of Acceptance14-Jan-2020
Date of Web Publication12-Mar-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vivek Mahawar
Department of Radiology, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi
India
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijnm.IJNM_210_19

Rights and Permissions
   Abstract 


Background: Response evaluation in locally advanced breast cancer is done through different methods ranging from clinical examination to magnetic resonance imaging, however evaluation with positron-emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) in now being incorporated for the response evaluation. The aim of the present study is to correlate response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) with PET/CT scan. Materials and Methods: The present study is a retrospective analysis of 30 locally advanced, triple-negative breast cancer patients. PET/CT scan was done pretreatment and post three and six cycles of NACT and was correlated with pathologic complete response (pCR). Responding disease was considered when there was at least a 50% reduction in the longest diameter. Results: The median pretreatment size of the breast lesion in CT scan was 3.9 ± 2.3 cm (2–12 cm) and maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) on PET/CT was 8.5 ± 5.5 (2.9–24). Among the responders, the median decrease in size of lesion was 3.2 ± 1.3 cm and median reduction in SUV of the tumor among was −8.1 ± 5.4 and was statistically significant when compared with nonresponders (P < 0.001). CT scan has 66% accuracy and PET has 82% accuracy at post three cycles NACT in predicting the pathological response. PET/CT had higher sensitivity and specificity when compared with CT findings alone in response evaluation. Conclusion: PET/CT scan can be considered as a sensitive tool for predicting pCRs and further larger trials are required to establish these findings.

Keywords: 18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography/computed tomography, locally advanced breast cancer, neoadjuvant chemotherapy


How to cite this article:
Basnet B, Goyal P, Mahawar V, Bothra SJ, Agrawal C, Thapa BB, Talwar V, Jain P, Babu Koyyala VP, Goel V, Batra U, Doval DC. Role of18F-flurodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography/computed tomography in the evaluation of early response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced triple-negative breast cancer. Indian J Nucl Med 2020;35:105-9

How to cite this URL:
Basnet B, Goyal P, Mahawar V, Bothra SJ, Agrawal C, Thapa BB, Talwar V, Jain P, Babu Koyyala VP, Goel V, Batra U, Doval DC. Role of18F-flurodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography/computed tomography in the evaluation of early response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced triple-negative breast cancer. Indian J Nucl Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Apr 4];35:105-9. Available from: http://www.ijnm.in/text.asp?2020/35/2/105/280458




   Introduction Top


Breast cancer is the second-most common cancer worldwide after lung cancer in women. Although the incidence has been increasing in recent years, mortality has been declining.[1] According to the American Joint Committee on Cancer the Stage IIb, IIIA and IIIb are referred as locally advanced breast carcinoma which usually have high locoregional recurrence and distant metastasis.[2] Immunohistochemical analysis of the estrogen receptor (ER), the progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) classify breast cancer into luminal type (ER and or PR-positive, HER2-negative), HER2-positive type breast carcinoma, and triple-negative breast carcinoma (TNBC) (ER, PR, and HER2 all negative). The latter two are more aggressive than luminal variety and require timely evaluation of response to treatment.[3]

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) for locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) is effective in downstaging the tumor.[4],[5],[6] It is important to differentiate between the responders and nonresponders of NACT so that the chemotherapy protocol can be changed for better efficacy or the cost of the treatment and the toxicity can be curtailed in time. Unlike computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) functional imaging techniques, positron-emission tomography (PET) with18 F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) (18 F-FDG PET/CT) have the unique ability to detect subclinical alteration in tumor physiology and biochemistry resulting from efficacious therapy.[5] The novel combination of PET/CT has higher accuracy to localize and interpret FDG uptake and has encouraging results in predicting the early response of breast cancer to NACT.[6]


   Materials and Methods Top


Patient population

This is a retrospective analysis of 30 women with histopathology proven locally advanced TNBC. The consort diagram for the study is shown in [Figure 1]. All patients received six cycles NACT DE (docetaxel 75mg/m2 and epirubicin 75 mg/m2) or TAC regime (docetaxel 75 mg/m2, adriamycin 75 mg/m2 and cyclophosphamide 750 mg/m2). Pretreatment 18-FDG PET/CT was done and repeated after three cycles of NACT and then after six cycles of NACT. The results were evaluated with reference to the final histopathology following surgery, which was carried out after completion of six cycles of NACT.
Figure 1:Consort diagram

Click here to view


18F-flurodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography/computed tomography

Patients were kept fasting for 6 h (blood glucose level <200 mg/dl).18 F-FDG (5–10 MBq/kg) was administered into the arm opposite to the breast tumor using a venous line. Imaging was started 40–60 min after injection and was performed from mid-thigh level to the vertex with the arms raised. PET and CT data were acquired with the Biograph true point PET/CT scanner with 40-slice Sensation CT scanner (Siemens). CT data were acquired first (120 kV, 100 mAs, no contrast enhancement). PET emission data were acquired in a three-dimensional mode, with 2 min/bed position, and reconstructed using a three-dimensional row-action maximum likelihood algorithm. The attenuation-corrected images were normalized for injected dose and body weight and converted into standardized uptake values (SUVs). The SUV was defined as (tracer concentration [kBq/mL])/(injected activity [kBq]/patient body weight [g]). PET/CT images were interpreted by 2 nuclear medicine specialists masked to the patient's record. Images were displayed on the syngovia workstation (Siemens). The SUV was measured by manually marking a circular region of interest in the three planes (coronal, sagittal, and axial) around the tumor (three-dimensional region of interest). The maximum SUV (SUVmax within the region of interest) was used for the study analysis.

Response evaluation included clinical examination, PET/CT, and postsurgery final histopathological response. Clinical examination and PET/CT were performed in all patients after the third cycle of NACT and after the completion of six cycles before the surgery. The CT part of PET/CT was considered for baseline as well as for NACT response evaluation. On CT, maximum diameter in one plane was used and on PET/CT SUVmax of CT assigned lesion was used. For clinical and CT analysis, the cutoff value of 50% was taken as cutoff value to classify the study population as responder (reduction in >50%) and nonresponders (reduction <50%).

A single pathologist validated all histopathological report. Maximum diameter in one plane was taken for reporting. Patients were considered as responders when the tumor was entirely replaced by fibrosis/necrosis or when the pathological tumor size is ≤25% of the pretreatment size. Patients were nonresponders when the pathological tumor size is more than 25% of the pretreatment size.

The data were analyzed using SPSS version 16 (IBM, USA). Comparison of response on PET/CT response was done using sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy, which were determined at the end of the study considering pathological response as the gold standard. The mean difference of SUVmax between responders and nonresponders was compared using Mann–Whitney U-test. A value of P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


   Results Top


The mean age of patients was 47.8 ± 14.0 (range 29–69 years). Among them stage IIb is 8 (26.7%), stage IIIA is 13 (43.3%), and stage IIIB 9 (30%). All patients had invasive ductal carcinoma in tru-cut biopsy. Among NACT, DE was given in 19 (63.3%) and 11 (36.7%) patients received TAC.

The median pretreatment size of the breast lesion in CT scan was 3.9 ± 2.3 cm (2–12 cm) and SUVmax on PET/CT was 8.5 ± 5.5 (2.9–24). Twenty-four of 30 patients had positive lymph nodes on PET/CT showing FDG uptake. The size of lymph nodes ranged from 0.9 to 4.5 cm and the SUVmax of the axillary lymph node ranges from 1.4 to 17.0 cm. The average reduction in size and SUV of the primary tumor after three cycles of NACT was mentioned in [Table 1]. Among the responders, the median decrease in size of lesion was 3.2 ± 1.3 cm and median reduction in SUV of the tumor among was −8.1 ± 5.4 and was statistically significant when compared with nonresponders P < 0.001. Response evaluation in one of the patients is shown in [Figure 2].
Table 1: Response evaluation in PET/CT

Click here to view
Figure 2:(a) Right breast shows metabolically active confluent lobulated nodular ill-defined soft tissue mass (6.8 cm × 3.0 cm, maximum standardized uptake value 7.5) predominantly in lower half. (b) Right breast shows mildly metabolically active lobulated nodular ill-defined soft-tissue lesion (2.0 cm × 1.7 cm, maximum standardized uptake value 1.8) at 6–8 o'clock position. (c) Right breast shows mildly metabolically active lobulated nodular ill-defined soft-tissue lesion (2.0 cm × 1.1 cm, maximum standardized uptake value 1.5) at 6–8 o'clock position

Click here to view


Five patients had a complete metabolic response in the primary tumor after three cycles NACT. Of 26 lymph node positive patients, 9 (34.6%) was metabolically inactive in PET/CT after three cycles of NACT.

All patients underwent surgery, 26 patients underwent MRM and 4 underwent BCS. At cutoff of 25% baseline value, 18 patients were pathological responders and 12 patients were pathological nonresponders. The reduction in metabolic activities (SUVmax) of tumors among responders and nonresponders post-NACT were 70.0% ±26.0% and 34.5% ±37.0%, respectively [Table 2]. CT has 66% accuracy and PET has 82% accuracy at post three cycles NACT in predicting the pathological response. PET/CT had higher sensitivity and specificity when compared with CT findings alone in response evaluation [Table 3].
Table 2: Change in metabolic activity among pathological responders and non-responders

Click here to view
Table 3: Prediction of pathological response

Click here to view



   Discussion Top


Locally advanced breast cancer that includes Stage IIB and Stage III necessitates multidisciplinary approach for the optimal outcome. LABC of any subtype is candidate for NACT to achieve complete pathological resection, breast conservation, and minimize the risk of distant recurrence.[7],[8],[9] Patients undergoing neoadjuvant treatment for breast cancer require periodic evaluations during treatment to assess the response. There are no formal guidelines regarding response evaluation. The general approaches are clinical examination and imaging studies including ultrasound and/or MRI. The correlation between tumor measurements by physical examination, imaging (mammography, ultrasonography, or MRI), and tumor size on final pathologic analysis is modest at best.[10] Meta-analysis shows contrast-enhanced MRI has high specificity (91%), but low sensitivity (63%) to predict pathologic complete response (pCR).[11]

Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC)[12] are those without hormone receptor and HER2 expression and account for 15% of breast tumors. TNBC has aggressive biology and has a poorer outcome compared with other subtypes. However, they have high responsiveness to NACT, called the “triple-negative paradox.”[13] Due to its elevated risk of distant recurrence and death,[8] it is extremely important to identify the clinic-biologic, molecular, or imaging biomarkers that may predict early response to NACT.[14] Accurate response evaluation of NACT allows for response-adjusted sequential chemotherapy. It gives an opportunity for independent evaluation of different drug regimens and the possibility to individualize therapy based on a patient's tumor response.[15],[16]

18 F-FDG-PET/CT, a gold standard forin vivo evaluation of tumor cell activity is superior to other morphological imaging modalities. The use of PET/CT to monitor early tumor response to NACT have showed higher efficacy in predicting the pathological response whatever the tumor subtype.[6],[17] In an evaluation[6] to determine optimal imaging time for predicting pathologic chemotherapy response, it was found that the best discrimination was measured for mean SUV at the midpoint of therapy, which identified 77% of low responding tumors and 100% of high responding tumors and had a receiver operating characteristic area of 0.93.[18]

The variation in sensitivity (39%–100%) and specificity (39%–100%) in literature is probably due to differences in inclusion and exclusion criteria. There is significantly different (P = 0.04) reduction rate in SUVmax between patients who are pathologically responsive and nonresponsive to NACT with higher (>80%) sensitivity and specificity.[19],[20] The difference in response rate is also significant in our study with P = 0.01. Different studies showed different values of sensitivity, specificity at the different cutoff values. Evaluation after second-course NACT[6] with SUVmax reduction rate cutoff value of 40% showed the sensitivity, specificity of 89% and 95%. Higher the cutoff range lower the sensitivity and specificity has been observed.[17]

In univariate logistic analysis, negative HER2 status (P = 0.042), high metabolic response (cutoff = 50%; P = 0.002), and low tumor SUV2-max (cutoff = 6.9; P = 0.013) correlated with complete pathological response.[21] Huober demonstrated in multivariate analysis the most accurate and strongest independent predictor of pCR was tumor difference in SUVmax: with the cutoff at 50%.[15],[21] Beside FDG, 11-C methionine and 15 O-water have also been used in different studies and revealed promising results regarding the prediction of pathological response rate. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy, another functional imaging modalities is also being used in response evaluation of NACT in LABC.[20]

Major limitations of this study are its retrospective nature and heterogenous NACT regimens. However, robust prospective design with a large sample size would be required to confirm these results.


   Conclusion Top


PET-CT scan can be considered as an important imaging modality for response evaluation to NACT and can also predict pathologic CR. Thus, further trials should be conducted to solidify the findings of the current study.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Jemal A, Clegg LX, Ward E, Ries LA, Wu X, Jamison PM, et al. Annual report to the nation on the status of cancer, 1975-2001, with a special feature regarding survival. Cancer 2004;101:3-27.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Haagensen CD, Stout AP. Carcinoma of the breast-part I; results of treatment. Ann Surg 1942;116:801-15.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Lehmann BD, Bauer JA, Chen X, Sanders ME, Chakravarthy AB, Shyr Y, et al. Identification of human triple-negative breast cancer subtypes and preclinical models for selection of targeted therapies. J Clin Invest 2011;121:2750-67.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Wang HC, Lo SS. Future prospects of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in treatment of primary breast cancer. Semin Surg Oncol 1996;12:59-66.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Price P, Jones T. Can positron emission tomography (PET) be used to detect subclinical response to cancer therapy? The EC PET Oncology Concerted Action and the EORTC PET Study Group. Eur J Cancer 1995;31A: 1924-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Rousseau C, Devillers A, Sagan C, Ferrer L, Bridji B, Campion L, et al. Monitoring of early response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in stage II and III breast cancer by [18F] fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography. J Clin Oncol 2006;24:5366-72.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Carey LA, Winer EP. Defining success in neoadjuvant breast cancer trials. Lancet 2014;384:115-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Cortazar P, Zhang L, Untch M, Mehta K, Costantino JP, Wolmark N, et al. Pathological complete response and long-term clinical benefit in breast cancer: The CTNeoBC pooled analysis. Lancet 2014;384:164-72.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Kesson EM, Allardice GM, George WD, Burns HJ, Morrison DS. Effects of multidisciplinary team working on breast cancer survival: Retrospective, comparative, interventional cohort study of 13 722 women. BMJ 2012;344:e2718.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Chagpar AB, Middleton LP, Sahin AA, Dempsey P, Buzdar AU, Mirza AN, et al. Accuracy of physical examination, ultrasonography, and mammography in predicting residual pathologic tumor size in patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Ann Surg 2006;243:257-64.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Yuan Y, Chen XS, Liu SY, Shen KW. Accuracy of MRI in prediction of pathologic complete remission in breast cancer after preoperative therapy: A meta-analysis. AJR Am J Roentgenol 2010;195:260-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Foulkes WD, Smith IE, Reis-Filho JS. Triple-negative breast cancer. N Engl J Med 2010;363:1938-48.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Carey LA, Dees EC, Sawyer L, Gatti L, Moore DT, Collichio F, et al. The triple negative paradox: Primary tumor chemosensitivity of breast cancer subtypes. Clin Cancer Res 2007;13:2329-34.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Dent R, Trudeau M, Pritchard KI, Hanna WM, Kahn HK, Sawka CA, et al. Triple-negative breast cancer: Clinical features and patterns of recurrence. Clin Cancer Res 2007;13:4429-34.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Huober J, von Minckwitz G, Denkert C, Tesch H, Weiss E, Zahm DM, et al. Effect of neoadjuvant anthracycline-taxane-based chemotherapy in different biological breast cancer phenotypes: Overall results from the GeparTrio study. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2010;124:133-40.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
von Minckwitz G, Kümmel S, Vogel P, Hanusch C, Eidtmann H, Hilfrich J, et al. Neoadjuvant vinorelbine-capecitabine versus docetaxel-doxorubicin-cyclophosphamide in early nonresponsive breast cancer: Phase III randomized GeparTrio trial. J Natl Cancer Inst 2008;100:542-51.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Schwarz-Dose J, Untch M, Tiling R, Sassen S, Mahner S, Kahlert S, et al. Monitoring primary systemic therapy of large and locally advanced breast cancer by using sequential positron emission tomography imaging with [18F] fluorodeoxyglucose. J Clin Oncol 2009;27:535-41.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
McDermott GM, Welch A, Staff RT, Gilbert FJ, Schweiger L, Semple SI, et al. Monitoring primary breast cancer throughout chemotherapy using FDG-PET. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2007;102:75-84.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Ogino K, Nakajima M, Kakuta M, Hayashi M, Yamaguchi S, Tsuchioka T, et al. Utility of FDG-PET/CT in the evaluation of the response of locally advanced breast cancer to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Int Surg 2014;99:309-18.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.
Kumar A, Kumar R, Seenu V, Gupta SD, Chawla M, Malhotra A, et al. The role of 18F-FDG PET/CT in evaluation of early response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced breast cancer. Eur Radiol 2009;19:1347-57.  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.
Humbert O, Riedinger JM, Charon-Barra C, Berriolo-Riedinger A, Desmoulins I, Lorgis V, et al. Identification of biomarkers including 18FDG-PET/CT for early prediction of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res 2015;21:5460-8.  Back to cited text no. 21
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

Top
  
 
  Search
 
  
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

 
  In this article
    Abstract
   Introduction
    Materials and Me...
   Results
   Discussion
   Conclusion
    References
    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    Viewed75    
    Printed0    
    Emailed0    
    PDF Downloaded21    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal