Determination of choline concentration in breast lesions: quantitative multivoxel proton MR spectroscopy as a promising noninvasive assessment tool to exclude benign lesions.
ABSTRACT To determine the optimal cutoff of choline (Cho) concentration in quantitative multivoxel magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopic data to safely prove benignancy in breast lesions.
The study was institutional review board approved, and informed consent was obtained from each patient. Between July 2009 and July 2010, multivoxel MR spectroscopy was performed in 24 consecutive patients with 25 breast lesions assessed as Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System 3 or 4 and larger than 1 cm in diameter at mammography. Two-dimensional point-resolved spatially localized spectroscopy chemical shift imaging was first performed without signal suppression (repetition time msec/echo time msec, 1500/30) as reference measurement and was performed subsequently with suppression of water and fat signals (1500/135) to detect Cho. Differences in mean and highest Cho concentration in the breast lesions were tested for significance by using the independent sample t test. The final diagnosis was confirmed with pathologic findings.
Fourteen of 25 breast lesions were malignant. The mean Cho concentration varied between 0.3 and 1.3 mmol/L (0.84 mmol/L ± 0.32 [standard deviation]) in benign lesions and between 1.3 and 9.5 mmol/L (3.10 mmol/L ± 2.21) in malignant lesions. The highest Cho concentrations in benign and malignant lesions were 0.4-1.5 mmol/L (1.19 mmol/L ± 0.33) and 1.7-11.8 mmol/L (4.08 mmol/L ± 2.81), respectively. Mean and highest Cho concentrations in benign and malignant breast lesions differed significantly (P = .02 for both).
The study, in a relatively small patient population, shows that quantitative multivoxel MR spectroscopy can be applied to exclude benign breast lesions from further invasive diagnostic work-up with the implementation of a Cho concentration of 1.5 mmol/L or lower as a cutoff. Further larger studies will be needed to confirm these results.