Evaluation of ductal carcinoma in situ via molecular imaging of B7-H3 expression

In this recent study by Bachawal et al., authors used the multimodal imaging capabilities of the Vevo imaging system to evaluate the aggressiveness of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) through B7-H3 targeted ultrasound and photoacoustic molecular imaging.

Article Summary:

  • DCIS accounts for 20% of the breast cancer detected through screening, with surgical resection being the mainstay treatment.
  • DCIS is a pre-invasive lesion that may not progress to invasive carcinoma.
  • There is a need for non-invasive methods of monitoring disease progression so that patient over treatment can be reduced, along with healthcare costs.
  • Increased expression of B7-H3 was shown through immunohistochemical staining to be associated with more invasive grades of DCIS, making it an ideal biomarker for the monitoring of disease progression.
  • A transgenic mouse model of breast cancer development was used for this study.
  • Molecule ultrasound (US) imaging using targeted microbubbles was used to determine normal vs DCIS tissue for screening purposes.
  • Photoacoustic and fluorescence imaging using anti-B7-H3 antibody conjugated ICG dye was used to detect DCIS margins intraoperatively.
  • Contrast ultrasound differentiated DCIS from normal tissue with an AUC of 0.89.
  • Photoacoustic (PA) imaging with targeted contrast agent showed high specificity and was able to differentiate small foci of DCIS (< 1mm) from normal tissue.


In this study the authors showed that the expression level of B7-H3 is correlated with the nuclear grade of DCIS. Used in combination with appropriate contrast agents, targeted B7-H3 imaging with US, PA and fluorescence was able to sensitively detect DCIS. Posing strategies for potential clinical use.

  1. Bachawal, S., Bean, G. R., Krings, G. & Wilson, K. E. Evaluation of ductal carcinoma in situ grade via triple-modal molecular imaging of B7-H3 expression. npj Breast Cancer 6, 14 (2020).