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Due to the shift towards minimal invasive treatment, accurate tumor size estimation is essential for small breast cancers. The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability of MRI-based tumor size measurements with respect to clinical, histological and radiomics characteristics in small invasive or in situ carcinomas of the breast to select patients for minimal invasive therapy. All consecutive cases of cT1 invasive breast carcinomas that underwent pre-operative MRI, treated in two hospitals between 2005 and 2016, were identified retrospectively from the Dutch cancer registry and cross-correlated with local databases. Concordance between MRI-based measurements and final pathological size was analyzed. The influence of clinical, histological and radiomics characteristics on the accuracy of MRI size measurements were analyzed. Analysis included 343 cT1 breast carcinomas in 336 patients (mean age, 55 years; range, 25-81 years). Overall correlation of MRI measurements with pathology was moderately strong (ρ = 0.530, P < 0.001), in 42 cases (12.2%) MRI underestimated the size with more than 5 mm. Underestimation occurs more often in grade 2 and grade 3 disease than in low grade invasive cancers. In DCIS the frequency of underestimation is higher than in invasive breast cancer. Unfortunately, none of the patient, imaging or biopsy characteristics appeared predictive for underestimation. Size measurements of small breast cancers on breast MRI are within 5 mm of pathological size in 88% of patients. Nevertheless, underestimation cannot be adequately predicted, particularly for grade 2 and grade 3 tumors, which may hinder patient selection for minimal invasive therapy. Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


W B G Sanderink, M Caballo, L J A Strobbe, P Bult, W Vreuls, D J Venderink, I Sechopoulos, N Karssemeijer, R M Mann. Reliability of MRI tumor size measurements for minimal invasive treatment selection in small breast cancers. European journal of surgical oncology : the journal of the European Society of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology. 2020 Aug;46(8):1463-1470

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PMID: 32536526

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