Association between sonographic appearances of breast cancers and their histopathologic features and biomarkers.

Melania Costantini, Paolo Belli, Enida Bufi, Anna Maria Asunis, Enrico Ferra, Grazia Tomasa Bitti

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate potential associations between invasive breast cancer sonographic (US) findings and histopathologic patterns and biomarkers. METHODS: One hundred consecutive women with invasive breast cancer treated in the Breast Diagnostic Center of Brotzu Hospital in Cagliari, Italy, from January to October 2013, were retrospectively evaluated. Two experienced breast radiologists independently evaluated hard copies of US examinations performed during the US-guided biopsy procedure. Tumor characteristics were assessed by using the BI-RADS US lexicon. For each patient, the results of histopathologic examination, tumor grading, hormone-receptor status, HER2, and Ki67 were considered. US characteristics were compared with histopathologic features and biomarkers. Statistical analysis was performed. RESULTS: Low-grade tumors were statistically significantly associated with spiculated margins (p = 0.002) and hyperechoic halos (p < 0.001). High-grade tumors were associated with abrupt interfaces, nonspiculated margins, and absence of posterior acoustic shadowing. Malignant breast masses with spiculated margins were significantly associated with hormone-receptor positivity (p = 0.009). The most frequent tumor grade was G3 in the HER2 + and triple-negative subgroups. Patients with G3 tumors were significantly younger than those with G1 or G2 disease (51.3 ± 9.5 years versus 58.7 ± 12.6 years; p = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS: Histopathologic patterns and breast cancer biomarkers determine differences in US imaging that can guide radiologists in better understanding the development of breast cancer and its prognosis. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Ultrasound 44:26-33, 2016.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Ultrasound
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • bio- markers
  • breast cancer
  • sonographic features
  • ultrasonography


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