Correlation between Choline Peak at MR Spectroscopy and Calcium-Sensing Receptor Expression Level in Breast Cancer: A Preliminary Clinical Study

Gabriella Baio, Giuseppe Rescinito, Francesca Rosa, Daniele Pace, Simona Boccardo, Luca Basso, Sandra Salvi, Massimo Calabrese, Mauro Truini, Carlo Emanuele Neumaier

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11 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: The calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) is overexpressed in many pathological states including breast cancer. Since choline kinase may be activated in breast cancer cells by CaSR resulting in increased phosphocholine production, we sought to correlate the total choline peak in breast lesions as measured by in vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) with the CaSR expression levels in surgical specimens.

PROCEDURES: Thirty-six patients with breast lesions were MR scanned at 3T scanner. Tumour morphology and DCE-MR kinetics were evaluated. (1)H-MRS was applied for Cho detection and compared with the CaSR immunohistochemistry analysis (score 0-5) on surgical breast specimens.

RESULTS: Thirty-four lesions demonstrated a DCE malignant kinetics curve (types 2 and 3), while two lesions showed a benign (type 1). Twenty of the 23 breast cancer lesions (87 %) with a consistent Cho peak expressed a CaSR score of 3-5, and ten of the 11 breast lesions negative for Cho (91 %) had a CaSR score of 1-2. The two benign lesions showed a non-uniform/weak intense expression of the CaSR (score 3) with a consistent Cho peak.

CONCLUSIONS: The presence or absence of choline peak evaluated by (1)H-MRS, well correlated with the expression of CaSR in patients with breast lesions (p < 0.01), supports the hypothesis that CaSR may play an important role in the production of choline in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-556
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular imaging and biology : MIB : the official publication of the Academy of Molecular Imaging
Issue number4
Early online date23 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

Bibliographical note

The authors thank Mrs Teresa Morris, Coordinator of
Aberdeen Biomedical Imaging, University of Aberdeen, UK, for his helpful
revision of the manuscript, in particular for English editing


  • calcium-sensing receptor
  • MR spectroscopy
  • breast cancer
  • phosphocholine
  • 3T MR
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • G protein-coupled receptor
  • Calcium channels
  • MRI breast
  • Molecular imaging cancer


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