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Purpose To determine the relationship between the presence or absence of mammographic calcifications in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancers and pathologic complete response (pCR) to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and to determine other tumor and clinical characteristics that may be predictive of such a response. Materials and Methods A database of all patients with HER2-positive breast cancer who underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy between 2007 and 2015 was retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographic characteristics, mammographic appearance, molecular subtype of cancer (luminal or nonluminal), radiologic response (based on breast magnetic resonance images), surgery, and pathologic response to treatment were recorded. Inter- and subgroup comparison was performed for presence of mammographic microcalcification and cancer subtype by using Mann-Whitney and χ2 tests and logistic regression. Results A total of 111 patients with a median age of 49 years (interquartile range, 40-57 years) were evaluated. Of these, 64.9% (72 of 111) had mammographic microcalcifications, 63.1% (70 of 111) had luminal B cancer, and 36.9% (41 of 111) had nonluminal HER2-positive cancer. Radiologic response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy was observed in 70.3% (78 of 111) of patients. Surgery was performed in 97.3% (108 of 111) of patients, and 30.6% (34 of 111) of patients underwent breast conservation. pCR was observed in 33.3% (37 of 111) of patients; 16.2% (18 of 111) showed residual ductal carcinoma in situ and 50.5% (56 of 111) had residual invasive disease. The pCR rate was the same (P = .21) in patients with mammographic microcalcification (29.2% [21 of 72]) as in those without calcification (41.0% [16 of 39]). The pCR rate in patients with nonluminal HER2-positive cancers (46.3% [19 of 41]) was higher (P = .01) than in those with luminal B cancers (25.7% [18 of 70]). pCR was associated with nonluminal HER2-positive subtype (odds ratio, 5.4; 95% confidence interval: 1.8, 16.0; P = .01) and complete radiologic response (odds ratio, 20.4; 95% confidence interval: 3.3, 126.6; P = .01). Conclusion Patients with HER2-positive cancer and mammographic microcalcification can achieve pCR after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Nonluminal HER2-positive subtype and complete radiologic response are predictors of pCR.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





366 - 374


Adult, Breast, Breast Neoplasms, Calcinosis, Chemotherapy, Adjuvant, Female, Humans, Mammography, Middle Aged, Neoadjuvant Therapy, Receptor, ErbB-2, Retrospective Studies, Treatment Outcome