Associations Between Dynamic Contrast Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Clinically Relevant Histopathological Features in Breast Cancer: A Multicenter Analysis

In Vivo. 2022 Jan-Feb;36(1):398-408. doi: 10.21873/invivo.12717.


Background/aim: To provide data regarding relationships between quantitative dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE MRI) and prognostic factors in breast cancer (BC).

Patients and methods: Data from 4 Centers (200 female patients, mean age, 51.2±11.5 years) were acquired. The following data were collected: histopathological diagnosis, tumor grade, stage, hormone receptor status, KI 67, and DCE MRI values including Ktrans (volume transfer constant), Ve (volume of the extravascular extracellular leakage space (EES) and Kep (diffusion of contrast medium from the EES back to the plasma). DCE MRI values between different groups were compared using the Mann-Whitney U-test and by the Kruskal-Wallis H test. The association between DCE MRI and Ki 67 values was calculated by the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient.

Results: DCE MRI values of different tumor subtypes overlapped significantly. There were no statistically significant differences of DCE MRI values between different tumor grades. All DCE MRI parameters correlated with KI-67: Ktrans, r=0.44, p=0.0001; Ve, r=0.34, p=0.0001; Kep, r=0.28, p=0.002. ROC analysis identified a Ktrans threshold of 0.3 min-1 for discrimination of tumors with low KI-67 expression (<25%) and high KI-67 expression (≥25%): sensitivity, 75.5%, specificity, 73.0%, accuracy, 74.0%, AUC, 0.78. DCE MRI values overlapped between tumors with different T and N stages.

Conclusion: Ktrans, Kep, and Ve cannot be used as reliable a surrogate marker for hormone receptor status, tumor stage and grade in BC. Ktrans may discriminate lesions with high and lower proliferation activity.

Keywords: Breast cancer; DCE MRI; KI 67; hormone receptor.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • ROC Curve


  • Biomarkers
  • Contrast Media