MRI Benefit in Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Questioned

Magnetic resonance imaging not considered a good use of resources in study group of patients
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in addition to the usual triple assessment for breast cancer diagnosis does not reduce the risk of repeat operation and is not a good use of resources, according to a study published in the Feb. 13 issue of The Lancet.

Lindsay Turnbull, M.D., of Hull Royal Infirmary in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a trial of 1,623 women with biopsy-proven primary breast cancer, of whom 816 were given an MRI, while 807 had no further imaging. The women then underwent wide local excision, and the researchers looked at whether those in the MRI group were less likely to need further surgery within the following six months, or had lower odds of a pathologically avoidable mastectomy at first surgery, than the control group.

The researchers found that the reoperation rate was similar in both groups, with 153 (19 percent) of the MRI group requiring further surgery versus 156 (19 percent) in the control group.

"Our results have important implications in routine clinical practice for the appropriate use of health-service resources and patient burden on health services," the authors write. "MRI is an expensive procedure. Because surgical use of MR data to direct wide local excision is similar worldwide, we believe that our findings are generalizable to all health care providers, and show that MRI might not be necessary in this population of patients in terms of reduction of reoperation rates."

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