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Intra-tumoural lipid composition and lymphovascular invasion in breast cancer via non-invasive magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jiabao He



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2020, The Author(s).Objectives: Despite improved survival due to new treatments, the 10-year survival rate in patients with breast cancer is approximately 75%. Lymphovascular invasion (LVI), a prognostic marker independent from histological grade and stage, can only be fully determined at final histological examination. Lipid composition is deregulated in tumour via de novo lipogenesis, with alteration in lipogenic genes in LVI. We hypothesise alteration in lipid composition derived from novel non-invasive spectroscopy method is associated with LVI positivity. Methods: Thirty female patients (age 39–78) with invasive ductal carcinoma were enrolled, with 13 LVI negative and 17 LVI positive. Saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fatty acids and triglycerides (SFA, MUFA, PUFA and TRG) were quantified from ex vivo breast tumours freshly excised from patients on a 3 T clinical MRI scanner, and proliferative activity marker Ki-67 and serotonin derived histologically. Results: There were significantly lower MUFA (p = 0.0189) in LVI positive (median: 0.37, interquartile range (IQR): 0.25–0.64) than negative (0.63, 0.49–0.96). There were significantly lower TRG (p = 0.0226) in LVI positive (1.32, 0.95–2.43) than negative (2.5, 1.92–4.15). There was no significant difference in SFA (p = 0.6009) or PUFA (p = 0.1641). There was no significant correlation between lipid composition against Ki-67 or serotonin, apart from a borderline negative correlation between PUFA and serotonin (r = - 0.3616, p = 0.0496). Conclusion: Lipid composition might provide a biomarker to study lymphovascular invasion in breast cancer. Key Points: • Monounsaturated fatty acids in lymphovascular invasion (LVI) positive invasive breast carcinoma were significantly lower than that in LVI negative. • Triglycerides in LVI positive invasive breast carcinoma were significantly lower than that in LVI negative. • Lipid composition from MR spectroscopy reflects the rate of de novo lipogenesis and provides a potential biomarker independent from histological grade and stage.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cheung SM, Husain E, Mallikourti V, Masannat Y, Heys S, He J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Radiology

Year: 2021

Volume: 31

Issue: 6

Pages: 3703-3711

Print publication date: 01/06/2021

Online publication date: 03/12/2020

Acceptance date: 11/11/2020

Date deposited: 01/11/2022

ISSN (print): 0938-7994

ISSN (electronic): 1432-1084

Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH


DOI: 10.1007/s00330-020-07502-4

PubMed id: 33270144


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Funder referenceFunder name
Friends of Aberdeen and North Centre for Haematology, Oncology and Radiotherapy (ANCHOR) (RS2015 004)
RS2015 004