Comparison of WHO and RECIST Criteria for Evaluation of Clinical Response to Chemotherapy in Patients with Advanced Breast Cancer

  • Published : 2012.07.31


When patients with advanced breast cancer (ABC) are treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT), efficacy is monitored by the extent of tumor shrinkage. Since their publication in 1981, World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines have been widely practiced in clinical trials and oncologic practice, for standardized tumor response evaluation. With advances in cancer treatment and tumor imaging, a simpler criterion based on one-dimensional rather than bi-dimensional (WHO) tumor measurement, named Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) was introduced in 2000. Both approaches have four response categories: complete response, partial response, stable disease and progressive disease (PD). Bi-dimensional measurement data of 151 patients with ABC were analysed with WHO and RECIST criteria to compare their response categories and inter criteria reproducibility by Kappa statistics. There was 94% concordance and 9/151 patients were recategorized with RECIST including 6/12 PD cases. RECIST therefore under-estimates and delays diagnosis of PD. This is undesirable because it may delay or negate switch over to alternate therapy. Analysis was repeated with a new criteria named RECIST-Breast (RECIST-B), with a lower threshold for PD (${\geq}10%$ rather than ${\geq}20%$ increase of RECIST). This showed higher concordance of 97% with WHO criteria and re-categorization of only 4/151 patients (1/12 PD cases). RECIST-B criteria therefore have advantages of both ease of measurement and calculations combined with excellent concordance with WHO criteria, providing a practical clinical tool for response evaluation and offering good comparison with past and current clinical trials of NACT using WHO guidelines.


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