Study: Breast-specific gamma imaging improves Oregon centers patient care

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Using breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) has improved patient management at Legacy Health System’s breast center in Portland, Ore., according to data presented by the institution’s surgical team at the North Pacific Surgical Conference in Victoria, British Columbia.

“Breast specific gamma imaging has brought scintimammography back to the forefront,” said Minhao Zhou, MD, co-author of the study conducted at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

Zhou and colleagues reviewed 176 patient cases referred to BSGI due to one of the following indications: suspicious mammography findings, high-risk dense breast tissue or an abnormal physical exam. 

Of the 47 patients with a recent breast cancer diagnosis, BSGI detected additional disease in three patients, two with cancer in the opposite breast and one with an additional site in the same breast. BSGI also detected cancer in 4 of the 14 patients with a mammographic BIRADS 2 rating, typically indicative of benign findings such as cysts or fibroadenomas.  BSGI changed patient management in 14.7 percent of cases with another 6.8 percent where BSGI could have helped to prevent an unneeded biopsy.

According to the authors, BSGI “plays an important role in their breast patient management and has the potential to help prevent unnecessary breast biopsies and interval imaging studies for some BIRADS 3 and 4 cases.”  Zhou said they have found it to be a useful adjunct imaging tool, especially for further evaluation of breast tissue in newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. 

According to the surgical team, one of the biggest benefits is that the “false-positive rate for BSGI was only 6.2 percent which is far less than studies that utilize MRI for these types of patients.”