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Studies Suggest MRI For Breast Cancer

May 11, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging
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MRI as not only a tool for diagnosing breast cancer but also a guide for treatment got a boost from several studies presented at the recent American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) annual meeting in San Diego. Here are some highlights:

  • A study from Sapienza University of Rome in Italy suggests that MRI should be used to help plan surgical treatment for patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer. The researchers said it offered information that mammography and ultrasound could not provide. The study involved 164 women about to undergo surgery after positive breast cancer biopsies. Compared with mammography and ultrasound, MRI provided information that caused the surgeons to change their planned procedures for 32 of the 164 patients, said Valeria Dominelli, MD, lead author of the study. She said it also detected 51 additional suspicious lesions that mammography or ultrasound did not. Breast MRI, Dr. Dominelli said, “should be recommended for mapping tumor extent in patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer.”
  • Whole-body MRI works best for detecting breast cancer metastases because it’s highly accurate, it can detect bone metastases even before symptoms occur, and it’s safe, say researchers in India. The study looked at 99 breast cancer patients at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Research Center in Pune, India. “Of the 99 patients, MRI accurately revealed that 47 patients were positive for metastases while 52 were negative,” said Joshita Singh, MD, lead author. “Of those patients who were positive for metastases, whole-body MRI frequently detected bone metastases earlier when the patient was still asymptomatic.” Dr. Singh compared whole-body MRI to some other imaging methods often used to detect breast cancer metastases, including PET/CT, chest X-rays, and bone scans:

Unlike other procedures commonly used in this role, it emits no radiation. We highly recommend that whole-body MRI be the imaging modality of choice for the detection of metastases in patients with breast cancer.

  • High spectral and spatial (HiSS) MRI is just as good at telling the difference between benign and malignant breast lesions as conventional contrast-enhanced MRI, concludes a University of Chicago study. It involved 56 women who were imaged using both techniques. “Results showed that HiSS MRI (without contrast agents) performed just as well in the task of separating benign and malignant lesions as conventional MRI (with contrast agents),” said Milica Medved, MD, lead author. “The accuracy of both tests was higher than 0.8.” Dr. Medved said HiSS, which is so far not routinely used in clinical practice, could provide an alternative to patients who are allergic to contrast materials or have poor renal function. Eventually, she said, it might help some women who do not have cancer avoid breast lesion biopsies.

One expert not involved in these studies sounded a note of caution. “There is still a good deal of debate over whether MRI should be used in women with breast cancer,” Constance Lehman, MD, PhD, told Medscape Medical News. Dr. Lehman is professor of radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine and director of breast imaging at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Related seminar: Breast & Women’s Imaging Seminar

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One Response to “Studies Suggest MRI For Breast Cancer”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Studies Suggest MRI For Breast Cancer faculty university on May 11th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    […] is the original post: Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Studies Suggest MRI For Breast Cancer By admin | category: Sapienza University of Rome | tags: help-plan, italy, mri, […]