The objective of this research was to study the contrast enhancement patterns of the different molecular subtypes of breast cancer on contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) using both qualitative and quantitative parameters. This prospective study included females with a single breast mass which was histopathologically proven carcinoma. B mode ultrasound (USG) and CEUS were performed in all patients during baseline assessment. Qualitative CEUS assessment encompassed enhancement pattern, presence of fill-in and washout. Quantitative assessment included measurement of peak enhancement, time to peak; area under the curve and mean transit time. A p-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant for differentiating the subtypes.
The included thirty masses were categorised into two subtypes—triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) (36.7%) and non-TNBC (63.3%) subtypes. With B-mode USG, a statistically significant difference was observed between the two groups with respect to their shape and margins. TNBC lesions showed an oval shape, circumscribed margins and peripheral nodular enhancement on CEUS with the absence of fill-in even in the delayed phase (p-value – 0.04). The two subtypes did not significantly differ in terms of quantitative perfusion parameters. The various subtypes of breast cancer therefore possess distinct contrast enhancement patterns. CEUS potentially allows differentiation amongst these molecular subtypes that may aid in radiology-pathology (rad-path) correlation and follow up of the patients.