3-T MRI Detects Early Breast Cancer not Seen with Mammography and Sonography

Study results demonstrated that a significant number of lesions not seen with mammography and sonography are detected with 3-T MRI, a new option for evaluating patients who are at high risk for developing breast cancer.

According to study results published in The American Journal of Roentgenology, a significant number of lesions not seen with mammography and sonography are detected with 3-T MRI, a new option for evaluating patients who are at high risk for developing breast cancer.

Researchers at the University of Toledo Medical Center, OH reported that, of 66 known malignant lesions in 434 women who underwent mammography, sonography, and 3-T MRI, 54 were detected with mammography, 57 with sonography, and all with 3-T MRI. Lead author Haitham Elsamaloty, MD, said that “3T MRI depicted a significantly higher number of malignant tumors of the breast than mammography and sonography.”

“Our study detected ‘early’ breast cancer (lesions as small as 4 mm) in size and also identified malignant lesions that were only detected by MRI and confirmed by MRI guided biopsy. These crucial findings led to a significant change in patient management in 18.2% of the cases in our study,” said Elsamaloty.

He noted that the study results suggest “an important role for 3-T MRI in such high risk groups for an early diagnosis of breast cancer and better accuracy in evaluating the extent of disease—a crucial factor in appropriate therapy planning.”

Elsamaloty also said that 3-T MRI systems are becoming “increasingly available in the clinical setting and more of them are being used for the evaluation of breast malignancy. 3-T MRI is an important addition to mammography and sonography.”

However, the researchers concluded that although 3-T MRI was more sensitive than mammography and sonography in detecting “breast cancer and the characterization of small lesions,” it displays lower specificity. In fact, when comparing previous study results of 1-T and 1.5-T MRI to those of their study, they found no significant difference in specificity.

Related Stories:

  • Second Look Ultrasound: Effective MRI Correlate for Identifying Incidental Breast Lesions
  • Breast Cancer in Men: Mammography and Sonography Findings
  • Mammography Plus Sonography can Help Rule Out Breast Cancer in Patients with Palpable Lesions