Take It Personally

Women with a personal history of breast cancer should undergo yearly MRI with mammography

(RxWiki News) Women with a personal history of breast cancer should look into annual MRI screening in addition to mammography.

This is the finding from a recent study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Current guidelines from the American Cancer Society recommend annual MRIs for women with a known gene mutation or strong family history indicating a breast-cancer risk of more than 20 percent. There are no such current guidelines for women who have already had breast cancer, however.

"In our study using breast MRI screening, we actually detected proportionally more cancers in women with a personal history of breast cancer, compared with those women with a genetic mutation or strong family history who are currently recommended to have breast MRI," said Wendy B. DeMartini, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of Washington Medical Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in Seattle. "Further, women with a personal history were less likely to be recalled for additional testing and less likely to have a biopsy for a false positive MRI finding."

Researchers looked at the initial screening breast MRI examinations of 1,026 women from January 2004 to June 2009. Of those patients, 327 had a genetic or family history of breast cancer and 646 had a personal history of treated breast cancer. The MRI testing identified 25 of 27 cancers in the group, which makes for a sensitivity rate of 92.6 percent.

Women with a personal history of breast cancer made up 3.1 percent of those with a cancer yield, which was more than double that of women who reported a genetic or family history (1.5 percent).

"Our findings show that the diagnostic performance of MRI in patients with a personal history of treated breast cancer supports consideration of screening MRI as an adjunct to mammography," Dr. DeMartini said. "Additional studies such as ours are necessary to establish guidelines for screening this important group of women."

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Review Date: 
November 29, 2010