Concomitant use of 18F-FDG PET-CT SUVmax is useful in the assessment of Ki67 labeling index in core-needle biopsy specimens of breast cancer

Gland Surg. 2021 Jan;10(1):1-9. doi: 10.21037/gs-20-485.


Background: Ki67 is a recognized proliferative and predictive marker in invasive breast cancer. However, results of Ki67 evaluation are affected by the method employed for sample fixation or biopsy, as well as by intratumor heterogeneity. Here, we aimed to compare the Ki67 labeling index (Ki67LI) between core-needle biopsy specimens (CNBSs) and surgically resected specimens (SRSs) of invasive breast cancer, and verify whether the discordance in Ki67LI can be reduced by analyzing the maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) obtained from pretreatment whole-body positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) in combination with Ki67LI.

Methods: Tumor tissues were obtained from 118 patients with invasive breast cancer. Ki67LI was evaluated in CNBSs and SRSs by immunohistochemistry. First, we directly compared Ki67LI between CNBS and SRS, "allowing a tolerance margin of 5%." We divided the Ki67LI values into three groups (Low: 0≤ Ki67LI ≤10, Intermediate: 10< Ki67LI <30, and High: 30≤ Ki67LI) and the SUVmax into three groups (SUVmax ≤4, 4< SUVmax <8, and 8≤ SUVmax). We then verified the concordance rate between CNBS and SRS in each group in combination with the SUVmax obtained by PET/CT.

Results: The median Ki67LI was 17.8% (0.5-75.9%) and 17.0% (1.0-75.7%) in CNBS and SRS, respectively. The overall Ki67LI concordance rate between CNBS and SRS was 37.3% (44/118). The concordance was improved in the Low and High Ki67LI groups by applying SUVmax thresholds of 4 [82.6% (19/23), P=0.033 and 8 (92.3% (12/13), P=0.009], respectively.

Conclusions: Our results indicated that CNBS Ki67LI alone was not able to reflect SRS Ki67LI with sufficient accuracy. By dividing CNBS Ki67LI into three classes in combination with SUVmax, tumor proliferation could be predicted with higher accuracy in patients with invasive breast carcinoma.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Ki67 labeling index; SUVmax; core needle biopsy.