MRI Found to Improve Breast Cancer Detection Rate

Increased sensitivity when magnetic resonance imaging is used in combination with mammography

FRIDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Using a combination of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and mammography increases sensitivity of cancer detection in women with a history of chest irradiation compared to using either modality on its own, according to a study published in the April issue of Radiology.

Janice S. Sung, M.D., from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues evaluated the utility of MR imaging in detection of breast cancer in 91 women with a history of chest irradiation. A review of the radiology department database identified 247 screening breast MR imaging examinations, and the findings and recommendations were assessed, together with those of the most recent mammograms. The researchers examined the number of cancers diagnosed, the detection method, and tumor characteristics.

The researchers found that biopsy was recommended for 32 lesions in 27 MR imaging studies. Of the 30 lesions biopsied, seven cancers were identified. Five additional patients were recommended for biopsy based on mammography findings, resulting in the detection of three malignancies. Of the 10 cancers detected during the study period, MR imaging alone detected four, mammography alone detected three, and the combination of both modalities detected three. Tumors detected by MR imaging alone were invasive carcinomas, and those detected by mammography alone were ductal carcinoma in situ, one of which had microinvasion.

"MR imaging should be used in addition to and not in place of mammography in this population, as the sensitivity for detecting breast cancers by using a combination of MR imaging and mammography was higher than that for either modality alone," the authors write.

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