Two New Studies Evaluate the Growing Use of Breast MRI
The overall use of breast magnetic resonance imaging has increased, with the procedure most commonly used for diagnostic evaluations and screenings, according to two new studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
However, while breast MRI is being used increasingly, its sensitivity leads to higher false-positive rates and it is also more expensive. Guidelines from the American Cancer Society (ACS) indicate that breast MRI should be used to screen asymptomatic women at high-risk for breast cancer if they are known carriers of the BRCA gene mutation; first-degree relatives of a known BRCA gene mutation carrier who are themselves untested; or a women with more than a 20 percent lifetime risk of breast cancer, according to the study background.
In the first study, Karen J. Wernli, Ph.D., of the Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, and colleagues examined the patterns of breast MRI in U.S. community practice from 2005 through 2009 with data collected from five national Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium registries.
Study results show the overall rate of breast MRI nearly tripled from 4.2 to 11.5 examinations per 1,000 women from 2005 through 2009. The procedure was most commonly used for diagnostic evaluation (40.3 percent), followed by screening (31.7 percent). Women who underwent screening breast MRI were more likely to be younger than 50 years old, white, nulliparous (never had a baby), have a personal history of breast cancer, a family history of breast cancer and extremely dense breast tissue.