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Keywords:

  • breast cancer;
  • k21-value;
  • magnetic resonance imaging;
  • proton MR spectroscopy

Abstract:  To assess which specific morphologic features, enhancement patterns, or pharmacokinetic parameters on breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) could predict a false-negative outcome of Proton MR Spectroscopy (1H MRS) exam in patients with invasive breast cancer. Sixteen patients with invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast were prospectively included and underwent both, contrast-enhanced breast MRI and 1H MRS examination of the breast. The MR images were reviewed and the lesions morphologic features, enhancement patterns and pharmacokinetic parameters (k21-value) were scored according to the ACR BI-RADS-MRI lexicon criteria. For the in vivo MRS studies, each spectrum was evaluated for the presence of choline based on consensus reading. Breast MRI and 1H MRS data were compared to histopathologic findings. In vivo 1H MRS detected a choline peak in 14/16 (88%) cancers. A false-negative 1H MRS study occurred in 2/16 (14%) cancer patients. K21 values differed between both groups: the 14 choline positive cancers had k21 values ranging from 0.01 to 0.20/second (mean 0.083/second), whereas the two choline-negative cancers showed k21 values of 0.03 and 0.05/second, respectively (mean 0.040/second). Also enhancement kinetics did differ between both groups; typically both cancers that were choline-negative showed a late phase plateau (100%), whereas this was only shown in 5/14 (36%) of the choline positive cases. There was no difference between both groups with regard to morphologic features on MRI. This study showed that false-negative 1H MRS examinations do occur in breast cancer patients, and that the presence of a choline peak on 1H MRS as malignancy marker is related to the k21 value of the invasive tumor being imaged.