ABVS means improved comfort, satisfaction for patients who would otherwise undergo MRI

Automated Breast Volume Scanner (ABVS) evaluation is close to matching traditional breast MRI in assessing tumor diameter and volume—and it’s leaving patients more satisfied and comfortable than its conventional counterpart, a study published in the European Journal of Radiology suggests.

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) for invasive breast cancer patients is commonplace, and measuring a tumor’s response to the chemo can be an influential marker for future treatment decisions, Dutch oncologist L.S.E. van Egdom, MD, and colleagues wrote in EJR. In the Netherlands alone, the use of neoadjuvant chemo jumped from 13 percent in 2014 to 20 percent last year.

“NAC generates the ability of an in vivo response evaluation,”  van Egdom et al. wrote. “Tumor response evaluation, therefore, directly influences treatment decisions, like immediate surgery or change of regimen in case of progression.”

MRI is the gold standard for measuring breast tumor response, the authors said, but patients are wary of its burdensome, time-consuming and costly nature. International guidelines support MRI, but not ultrasonography with standardized imaging.

“ABVS is known to be advantageous over breast MRI with regard to cost, time, ease of interpretation by multiple clinicians, accessibility and avoidance of contrast agents,” the researchers wrote. “We questioned whether the ABVS is as accurate as breast MRI and performed a feasibility study.”

In their small-scale trail, van Egdom and co-authors monitored 25 eligible patients who were undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Comparing their post-NAC response evaluations based on either ABVS or traditional breast MRI, the team found both pathways were acceptable measures of tumor progress.

MRI and ABVS showed an “absolute concordance” in 73 percent of patients mid-NAC, according to the study, with a good correlation for the difference in longest diameter measurement. At the same point in time, the two modalities showed a fair correlation in difference in volume measurement, and post-NAC that improved to an excellent correlation.

Perhaps more impactful, van Egdom et al. wrote, was patient satisfaction, which was recorded at 93 percent for ABVS compared to MRI’s 12 percent.

“ABVS showed good correlation with MRI tumor response evaluation in breast cancer patients during NAC with excellent inter- and intra-observer agreement,” they said. “ABVS has patients’ preference over breast MRI and could be considered as alternative to breast MRI.”