Breast cancer staging should include breast MRI, study suggests

May 3, 2010

Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can detect breast lesions missed on mammography and ultrasound and help surgeons plan the most appropriate surgical treatment, improving patient outcomes, according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Breast MRI offers valuable information about many breast conditions that cannot be obtained by other imaging modalities, such as mammography or . As a result, it is increasingly being used for the preoperative evaluation of patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer.

The study, performed at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" in Rome, Italy, included 164 women with biopsy-proven breast cancer. Researchers analyzed how breast MRI influenced the surgical management choices of those patients.

"Breast MRI changed the therapeutic procedure previously proposed based on conventional imaging (mammography and ultrasound) for 32/164 patients," said Valeria Dominelli, MD, lead author of the study. "Breast MRI also detected 51 additional suspicious lesions not seen on or ultrasound," said Dominelli.

"Breast MRI positively impacts patient management decisions and should be recommended for mapping tumor extent in patients with newly diagnosed . The correct assessment of the disease can help the surgeon plan the most appropriate surgical treatment, possibly reducing the need for re-intervention," she said.

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