Intravoxel incoherent motion magnetic resonance imaging for breast cancer: A comparison with molecular subtypes and histological grades

Magn Reson Imaging. 2021 May;78:35-41. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2021.02.005. Epub 2021 Feb 6.


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the IVIM parameters (D, D *, f) helps to determine the molecular subtypes and histological grades of breast cancer.

Methods: Fifty-one patients with breast cancer were included in the study. All subjects were examined by 3 T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) was undertaken with 16 b-values. IVIM parameters [D (true diffusion coefficient), D* (pseudo-diffusion coefficient), f (perfusion fraction)] were calculated. Histopathological reports were reviewed to histological grade, histological type, and immunohistochemistry. IVIM parameters of tumors with different histological grades and molecular subtypes were compared.

Results: D* and f were significantly different between molecular subtypes (p = 0.019, p = 0.03 respectively). D* and f were higher in the HER-2 group and lower in Triple negative (-) group (D*:36.8 × 10-3 ± 5.3 × 10-3 mm2/s, f:29.5%, D*:29.8 × 10-3 ± 5.6 × 10-3 mm2/s, f:21.5% respectively). There was a significant difference in D* and f between HER-2 and Triple (-) subgroups (p = 0,028, p = 0.024, respectively). D* was also significantly different between the HER-2 group and the Luminal group (p = 0,041). While histological grades increase, D and f values tend to decrease, and D* tends to increase. While the Ki-67 index increases, D* and f values tend to increase, and D tend to decrease.

Conclusion: D* and f values measured with IVIM imaging were useful for assessing breast cancer molecular subtyping. IVIM imaging may be an alternative to breast biopsy for sub-typing of breast cancer with further research.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Histologic grade; Intravoxel incoherent motion; Molecular subtype.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement*
  • Neoplasm Grading