Breast MRI before breast-conservation treatment does not improve outcome

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The use of a breast MRI study at the time of initial diagnosis and evaluation was not associated with an improvement in outcome after breast-conservation treatment (BCT) with radiation, according to a study in the Jan. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Lawrence J. Solin, MD, and colleagues, from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, set out to determine the relationship of breast MRI to outcome after BCT with radiation for women with early-stage invasive breast carcinoma or ductal carcinoma in situ.

The researchers examined 756 women with early stage invasive breast carcinoma or ductal carcinoma in situ underwent BCT including definitive breast irradiation during 1992 to 2001. At the time of initial diagnosis and evaluation, routine breast imaging included conventional mammography.

Of the 756 women, 215 (28 percent) had also undergone a breast MRI study, and 541 (72 percent) had not, the authors wrote. The median follow-up after treatment was 4.6 years.

For the women with a breast MRI study, compared with the women without a breast MRI study, the researchers found there were no differences in the eight-year rates of any local failure (3 percent vs. 4 percent, respectively) or local-only first failure (3 percent vs. 4 percent, respectively).

They also found that there were also no differences between the two groups for the eight-year rates of overall survival (86 percent vs. 87 percent, respectively), cause-specific survival (94 percent vs. 95 percent, respectively), freedom from distant metastases (89 percent vs. 92 percent, respectively) or contralateral breast cancer (6 percent vs. 6 percent, respectively).

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation partly supported the study with a grant.