In Vivo Proton MR Spectroscopy of the Breast Using the Total Choline Peak Integral as a Marker of Malignancy

Francesco Sardanelli, Alfonso Fausto, Giovanni Di Leo, Robin de Nijs, Marianne Vorbuchner, Franca Podo

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OBJECTIVE. The purpose of our study was to use the total choline-containing compound (tCho) peak integral as a marker of malignancy in breast MR spectroscopy (MRS). SUBJECTS AND METHODS. Forty-eight single-voxel water- and fat-suppressed 1.5-T MRS measurements were performed in 42 patients, obtaining both absolute tCho peak integral and tCho peak integral normalized for the volume of interest (VOI). Our reference standard was histology for lesions with BI-RADS category 4 and 5 and histology or at least a 2-year follow-up for findings with BI-RADS 2 and 3 and normal glands. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, Mann-Whitney U test, and Spearman's rank correlation were used. RESULTS. Three of 48 measurements (6%) failed. Of the remaining 45 spectra, 18 nonmalignant tissues showed no tCho peak, eight nonmalignant tissues showed a tCho peak integral from 0.99 to 9.03 arbitrary units (AU), and 19 malignant lesions showed a tCho peak integral from 1.26 to 19.80 AU. The diameter of nonmalignant tissues was 16.9 +/- 7.4 mm; that of malignant lesions was 15.3 +/- 6.9 mm (p = 0.308). At ROC analysis, the optimal threshold was 1.90 AU for absolute tCho peak, with 0.895 (17/19) sensitivity, 0.923 (24/26) specificity, and an AUC (area under the curve) of 0.917 (95% CI, 0.822-1.000); the optimal threshold was 0.85 AU/mL for the normalized tCho peak integral with 0.842 (16/19) sensitivity, 0.885 (23/26) specificity, and an AUC of 0.941 (0.879-1.000) (p = 0.470). A negative correlation (p = 0.011) was found between the VOI and the normalized tCho peak integral of malignant tissues.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1608-1617
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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