Evaluating patient-specific neoadjuvant regimens for breast cancer via a mathematical model constrained by quantitative magnetic resonance imaging data

Neoplasia. 2020 Dec;22(12):820-830. doi: 10.1016/j.neo.2020.10.011. Epub 2020 Nov 14.


The ability to accurately predict response and then rigorously optimize a therapeutic regimen on a patient-specific basis, would transform oncology. Toward this end, we have developed an experimental-mathematical framework that integrates quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data into a biophysical model to predict patient-specific treatment response of locally advanced breast cancer to neoadjuvant therapy. Diffusion-weighted and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI data is collected prior to therapy, after 1 cycle of therapy, and at the completion of the first therapeutic regimen. The model is initialized and calibrated with the first 2 patient-specific MRI data sets to predict response at the third, which is then compared to patient outcomes (N = 18). The model's predictions for total cellularity, total volume, and the longest axis at the completion of the regimen are significant within expected measurement precision (P< 0.05) and strongly correlated with measured response (P < 0.01). Further, we use the model to investigate, in silico, a range of (practical) alternative treatment plans to achieve the greatest possible tumor control for each individual in a subgroup of patients (N = 13). The model identifies alternative dosing strategies predicted to achieve greater tumor control compared to the standard of care for 12 of 13 patients (P < 0.01). In summary, a predictive, mechanism-based mathematical model has demonstrated the ability to identify alternative treatment regimens that are forecasted to outperform the therapeutic regimens the patients clinically. This has important implications for clinical trial design with the opportunity to alter oncology care in the future.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; DCE-MRI; DW-MRI; Forecasting; Simulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Data Analysis
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy* / methods
  • Precision Medicine* / methods
  • Treatment Outcome