PURPOSE: To prospectively compare unenhanced power Doppler sonographic findings of arterial vascularization of invasive breast carcinoma with histopathologic and immunohistochemical parameters and to determine whether tumor arterial vascularization contributes to prediction of axillary node status.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ethics committee approval and informed consent were obtained. A total of 97 invasive breast carcinomas were prospectively studied with unenhanced power Doppler sonography before surgery. Lumpectomy or mastectomy with full axillary nodal dissection was performed. Sonographic tumor size and number of tumor arteries Were correlated with axillary nodal status by means of logistic regression analysis. Tumor microvascularization was immunohistochemically assessed in a subset of 55 carcinomas. Sonographic variables were correlated with tumor arteries with a diameter larger than 300 mum and with the density and area of microvascularization. The K statistic and Bland-Altman agreement limits were used to measure agreement between techniques.
RESULTS: Good agreement of sonographic and histologic findings regarding number of tumor arteries (kappa = 0.66, P
CONCLUSION: The number of arteries in invasive breast carcinoma detected with unenhanced power Doppler sonography and sonographic tumor size are independent predictors of axillary nodal status; these variables could contribute to reliable prediction of absence of axillary involvement on the basis of a mathematic model.