Uncertainty over which DCIS cases will progress to invasive breast cancer currently leads to overtreatment, some believe. As a result, the researchers sought to discern the quantitative characteristics of pure DCIS, DCIS with an invasive component, and invasive cancers without DCIS to better understand the general imaging presentation of these three groups, said researcher Maryellen Giger, PhD, of the University of Chicago.
"The long-term goal of our research is to identify tumor signatures of preinvasive breast lesions for implementation at the in vivo imaging stage of patient workup," she said. "We aim to discover and correlate image-based characteristics of DCIS lesions with their probability of progressing to invasive cancer. The definable characteristics will consist of computer-extracted MRI-based phenotypes, which will be investigated relative to histopathology and molecular classification."
The researchers hypothesized that novel image-based tumor phenotypes can act as surrogate markers of DCIS lesions and contribute to the identification of those lesions that are obligate precursors of invasive disease. Successful discovery would help in assessing patients prior to the treatment decision-making process, she said.
"Image-derived quantitative phenotypes, which indicate a likelihood of invasive disease or pure DCIS, could guide patient management of DCIS lesions, thus potentially reducing overtreatment," Giger told AuntMinnie.com. "Also, understanding the quantitative image-based phenotypes with respect to the molecular markers will potentially allow for discovery of independent markers and thus yield improved prognostic value."
What did the group's retrospective quantitative 3D image analysis of more than 300 pathology-proven cancers uncover? Take in this Thursday session for all of the details.