Breast imaging focus at RSNA

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               Manjula Puthenedam

The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting, which took place in Chicago last week, included 525 scientific paper or poster abstracts and 224 education exhibit abstracts in breast cancer imaging - making it one of the hottest subspecialties discussed.

An estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women in 2010.

Currently, the American Cancer Society recommends annual mammography screening for women beginning at age 40 in the U.S. Having a yearly mammogram greatly reduces the risk of mastectomy following breast cancer in women between the ages of 40 and 50, according to a study presented by Nicholas M. Perry, MBBS, director of the London Breast Institute at the Princess Grace Hospital in London at RSNA. Data from the study showed that mastectomy was the required treatment for 19 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer who had been screened the prior year, compared to 46 percent of women who had not been screened in the past year.

Another study presented at RSNA showed that there is great variation among reading radiologists even at the same institution in reporting breast density. In approximately 32 percent of the cases, there was some radiologist disagreement between the categories and in some cases, more than one radiologist assigned a density greater than 50 percent on the same exam that others assigned a density less than 50 percent, according to the study author Stephanie L. van Colen, DO, from Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Mass. The researchers recommended that standardization of breast density reporting was necessary.

The first clinical experience with hybrid PET/MR imaging in oncology was also presented at this years meeting by Osman M. Ratib, MD, PhD, chair of radiology and head of nuclear medicine at University Hospital of Geneva in Switzerland. Initial studies included breast tumors with along lymphomas, head and neck tumors, prostate and as well as lung and colon cancers.

The researchers evaluated and compared clinical results from hybrid PET/MR imaging to findings of PET/CT studies. Ratib and colleagues found that the diagnostic quality of fused PET/MR images were comparable to corresponding PET/CT. The researchers noted that PET/MR could be useful in screening for breast cancer metastases and further studies will confirm the clinical applications in breast cancer.

On these topics, or others, please feel free to contact me.

Manjula Puthenedam, PhD
Associate Editor, Molecular Imaging Insight