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Prediction of Treatment Response to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer via Early Changes in Tumor Heterogeneity Captured by DCE-MRI Registration


We analyzed DCE-MR images from 132 women with locally advanced breast cancer from the I-SPY1 trial to evaluate changes of intra-tumor heterogeneity for augmenting early prediction of pathologic complete response (pCR) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC). Utilizing image registration, voxel-wise changes including tumor deformations and changes in DCE-MRI kinetic features were computed to characterize heterogeneous changes within the tumor. Using five-fold cross-validation, logistic regression and Cox regression were performed to model pCR and RFS, respectively. The extracted imaging features were evaluated in augmenting established predictors, including functional tumor volume (FTV) and histopathologic and demographic factors, using the area under the curve (AUC) and the C-statistic as performance measures. The extracted voxel-wise features were also compared to analogous conventional aggregated features to evaluate the potential advantage of voxel-wise analysis. Voxel-wise features improved prediction of pCR (AUC = 0.78 (±0.03) vs 0.71 (±0.04), p < 0.05 and RFS (C-statistic = 0.76 ( ± 0.05), vs 0.63 ( ± 0.01)), p < 0.05, while models based on analogous aggregate imaging features did not show appreciable performance changes (p > 0.05). Furthermore, all selected voxel-wise features demonstrated significant association with outcome (p < 0.05). Thus, precise measures of voxel-wise changes in tumor heterogeneity extracted from registered DCE-MRI scans can improve early prediction of neoadjuvant treatment outcomes in locally advanced breast cancer.

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