6 month follow-up of patients with benign MRI-guided breast biopsies may not be necessary

May 4, 2012

Short term follow-up of patients who have had a negative (benign) MRI-guided vacuum assisted breast biopsy may not be necessary, a new study indicates.

The study, conducted at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, included 144 patients with 176 lesions that were followed anywhere from three months to 36 months. The study found no malignancies on follow-up , said Jaime Geisel, MD, one of the authors of the study. Two patients had suspicious findings at follow-up and underwent a second six months after the initial biopsy; one yielded benign results and the second showed minimal atypical ductal hyperplasia, which was subsequently followed with MRI and was stable at six months; it remained stable at 18 months follow-up, Dr. Geisel said. All other lesions were considered stable or no longer present on follow-up, she said.

Follow-up of these patients varies by facility, however, "at our institution it is standard practice to recommend a follow up MRI in 6 months after a benign concordant breast MRI biopsy," Dr. Geisel said. "Our study found that follow up MRI at 6 months did not detect any missed cancers. One missed was actually stable on 6 month follow up MRI but found one month later on mammography," said Dr. Geisel.

"We have not changed our practice yet, because additional studies are needed to validate these findings, however, the study results suggest that we may be able to change our standard follow-up without compromising patient care," she said.

Explore further: Ultrasound proves safe alternative to biopsy in some breast masses

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