Breast MRI recommended for preoperative evaluation of newly diagnosed breast cancer

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A study published in the American Journal of Surgery found that women who underwent breast MRI had a better chance of avoiding mastectomy and that the technology is a valid recommendation for preoperative evaluation of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.

The study, co-sponsored by Mercy Health Center and Breast MRI of Oklahoma, included 603 patients from March 2003 through December 2006—the largest single-site study of preoperative patients ever published on MRI for breast cancer.

The research presented evidence that the number of breast conservation surgeries after MRI increased 12 percent to a rate slightly higher than the national data as reported by the National Cancer Data Base from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.

Another notable finding favoring preoperative breast MRI is a reduction in re-excisions after lumpectomy. As stated in the study, the 8.8 percent re-excision rate of women who had been imaged with MRI and had to undergo further surgery due to positive margins after lumpectomy is well below the accepted re-operation rates, which are as high as 59.6 percent after initial attempt at breast conservation as reported by O’Sullivan et al. in the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

This outcome counterbalances criticisms against the increased costs associated with the use of MRI, as performing fewer re-operations with MRI is far more cost-effective than the higher rate of multiple surgeries without breast MRI. Additionally, the study showed the sensitivity of MRI was 93 percent in detecting multicentric disease and 88 percent for contralateral disease, versus the sensitivity for conventional imaging (both mammography and ultrasound) which was 46 percent and 19 percent respectively.

The breast MRI exams were conducted exclusively on Aurora Imaging Technology’s Aurora Breast MRI system.