Breast thermography: A Noninvasive Prognostic Procedure that Predicts Tumor 
Growth Rate in Breast Cancer Patients

Head JF, Wang F, Elliott RL.    Elliott Mastology Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana  70816

Our recent retrospective analysis of the clinical  records of patients who had breast thermography  demonstrated that 
an abnormal thermogram was  associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and  a poorer prognosis for the 
breast cancer patient. This  study included 100 normal patients, 100 living cancer  patients, and 126 deceased cancer 
patients. Abnormal  thermograms included asymmetric focal hot spots,  areolar and periareolar heat, diffuse global heat,  
vessel discrepancy, or thermographic edge sign.  Incidence and prognosis were directly related to  thermographic 
results: only 28% of the noncancer  patients had an abnormal thermogram, compared to 65%  of living cancer patients 
and 88% of deceased cancer  patients. Further studies were undertaken to determine  if thermography is an 
independent prognostic  indicator. Comparison to the components of the TNM  classification system showed that only 
clinical size  was significantly larger (p = 0.006) in patients with  abnormal thermograms. Age, menopausal status, and  
location of tumor (left or right breast) were not  related to thermographic results. Progesterone and  estrogen receptor 
status was determined by both the  cytosol-DCC and immunocytochemical methods, and  neither receptor status 
showed any clear relationship  to the thermographic results. Prognostic indicators  that are known to be related to 
tumor growth rate were  then compared to thermographic results. The  concentration of ferritin in the tumor was  
significantly higher (p = 0.021) in tumors from  patients with abnormal thermograms (1512 ± 2027, n =  50) compared 
to tumors from patients with normal  thermograms (762 ± 620, n = 21). Both the proportion  of cells in DNA synthesis 
(S-phase) and proliferating  (S-phase plus G2M-phase, proliferative index) were  significantly higher in patients with 
abnormal  thermograms. The expression of the  proliferation-associated tumor antigen Ki-67 was also  associated 
with an abnormal thermogram. The strong  relationships of thermographic results with these  three growth rate-related 
prognostic indicators  suggest that breast cancer patients with abnormal  thermograms have faster-growing tumors 
that are more  likely to have metastasized and to recur with a  shorter disease-free interval.
PMID: 8279754 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]