Breast-specific gamma imaging improves detection, cost-effective

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Breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) demonstrated value as an adjunctive procedure in breast diagnostics; specifically as a useful and cost-effective procedure in the breast diagnostic workup, according to a study presented at the Miami Breast Cancer Conference in Orlando, Fla.

BSGI is a molecular breast imaging technique used for the early detection of breast cancer and in the differentiation of malignant and benign tumors, relying on gamma imaging technology and mammographic positioning. For the study, BSGI was conducted with the Dilon 6800 from the Newport News, Va.-based Dilon Technologies.

Margaret Bertrand, MD, director of breast imaging at Solis Bertrand Breast Center in Greensboro, N.C., and colleagues, evaluated the clinical impact of BSGI as an adjunctive imaging modality in a comparative analysis with other imaging methods; using tissue biopsy as the gold standard. The facility conducted diagnostic workup, including BSGI, on 98 lesions consisting of 69 malignancies. 

Seventy-five percent (64/75) of the lesions detected when BSGI was compared to MRI had concordant BSGI and MRI findings with 11 discrepancies, the authors wrote. In 74 of the 75 lesions, BSGI was conducted pre-biopsy, while MRI was conducted post-biopsy, therefore it is not certain if the MRI findings were positive due to biopsy or disease, according to Bertrand.

The researchers said that in addition, BSGI was false negative (FN) in three patients and false positive (FP) in two, while MRI was FN for one patient and FP in four. BSGI detected cancer in four women who could not comply with the MRI order. Based on this group of 75 patients who had both studies, the researchers concluded that a workup of BSGI in place of MRI would have saved approximately $58,000.

Bertrand said that “with the added benefit of lower cost and higher patient compliance of BSGI as compared to breast MRI, it may be used to improve detection while lowering healthcare costs."