Breast MRI could reduce local breast cancer recurrence rates, study suggests

May 3, 2010

The use of preoperative breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) prior to surgical intervention (for the treatment of breast cancer) can reduce the number of local (confined to the breast) cancer recurrences at follow-up, according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA. MRI of the breast is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat breast cancer.

"Local and regional recurrences after breast-conserving surgery are rare events," said Valeria Dominelli, MD, lead author of the study. "However young age and breast density put patients at a greater risk," said Dominelli.

The study, performed at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" in Rome, Italy, included 49 patients with a local recurrence that was detected after surgical treatment of the primary carcinoma. Ten patients had a contrast-enhanced MRI prior to surgery while the remaining 39 patients did not. Contralateral (cancer in the opposite breast) and local recurrence were seen significantly more in patients who did not receive an MRI examination prior to surgery.

"Our study suggests that preoperative breast MRI staging allows for a significant reduction in the number of local cancer recurrences at follow-up," said Dominelli.

"Breast MRI should be recommended to patients with for a better evaluation of the extent of disease," she said.

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