Estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers overall have a good prognosis, however, some patients suffer relapses and do not respond to endocrine therapy. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there are any correlations between high-resolution magic angle spinning (HR-MAS) magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) metabolic profiles of core needle biopsy (CNB) specimens and the molecular markers currently used in patients with ER-positive breast cancers. The metabolic profiling of CNB samples from 62 ER-positive cancers was performed by HR-MAS MRS. Metabolic profiles were compared according to human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and Ki-67 status, and luminal type, using the Mann-Whitney test. Multivariate analysis was performed with orthogonal projections to latent structure-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA). In univariate analysis, the HER2-positive group was shown to have higher levels of glycine and glutamate, compared to the HER2-negative group (P < 0.01, and P < 0.01, respectively). The high Ki-67 group showed higher levels of glutamate than the low Ki-67 group without statistical significance. Luminal B cancers showed higher levels of glycine (P=0.01) than luminal A cancers. In multivariate analysis, the OPLS-DA models built with HR-MAS MR metabolic profiles showed visible discrimination between the subgroups according to HER2 and Ki-67 status, and luminal type. This study showed that the metabolic profiles of CNB samples assessed by HR-MAS MRS can be used to detect potential prognostic biomarkers as well as to understand the difference in metabolic mechanism among subtypes of ER-positive breast cancer.
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