Breast MRI Moderately Useful for Detecting Breast Cancer, But Does Not Eliminate Need for Biopsy
In women with breast lesions that are suspicious for cancer, based on clinical examination or mammography, performing a breast MRI has high sensitivity but only moderate specificity for detecting breast cancer, but does not necessarily eliminate the need for tissue sampling, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Mammography is the primary imaging modality used to detect clinically occult breast cancer, according to background information in the article. However, mammography has limitations in both sensitivity and specificity that have led to exploration of other imaging techniques. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been evaluated for breast imaging because of its value for assessing soft tissues of the body. Previous research has indicated that additional lesions seen by MRI that are not visible on the mammogram have been reported to be present in between 27 percent and 37 percent of patients. The use of MRI to evaluate women with mammographically or clinically suspicious breast lesions who are undergoing biopsy has shown high potential.