Magnetic seed tech helps physicians localize breast lesions

A new magnetic “seed” technology can help radiologists localize breast lesions, and offers benefits over traditional wire-guided localization (WGL), reported authors of a study published Oct. 3 in the European Journal of Radiology.

The technology—Magseed—is made of medical grade stainless steel and the seeds can be easily detected using a handheld magnetic probe. In the study, breast lesions were accurately localized using this method in all participants, according to Kamil Pohlodek, with Comenius University of Bratislava’s faculty of medicine in Slovakia, and colleagues.

“For several years, the standard technique for intraoperative tumor localization of clinically occult tumors has been WGL, in which a hook wire is placed into the tumor under ultrasound, x-ray mammography, or MRI guidance,” Pohlodek et al. wrote. “However, the WGL procedure is not without problems.

Complications from WGL include wire transection and pneumothorax, among others. Prior research has established Magseed—which has received FDA clearance for long-term soft tissue implantation—as an effective method for preoperative breast lesion localization.

In the current study, Pohlodek et al. sought to determine the efficacy for localizing breast lesions using Magseeds in conjunction with sentinel nodes detection through superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles—each detected with a magnetic probe.

The researchers placed 41 seeds in the breast of 38 patients. Twenty-seven patients with malignant tumors underwent both magnetic methods.

All 38 patients had their breast lesions accurately localized. The researchers found no interference between Magseed signal and SPIO tracer signals.

“The new magnetic methods are reliable alternatives for localizing breast lesions and (sentinel lymph nodes) SLN detection,” the team concluded. “They have the potential to make tumor localization and SLN biopsy procedures possible in facilities without a nuclear medicine department or where radioisotope availability is limited.”