Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breast cancer screening: MRI sensitive, no added value with mammography, study suggests

Date:
March 8, 2010
Source:
University of Bonn
Summary:
Do we need a revision of current recommendations for breast cancer screening? According to a recent study, this appears advisable at least for young women carrying an increased risk of breast cancer. The results of the EVA trial confirm once more that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is substantially more accurate for early diagnosis of breast cancer than digital mammography or breast ultrasound: MRI is three times more sensitive for breast cancer than digital mammography.

Do we need a revision of current recommendations for breast cancer screening? According to a recent prospective multicenter cohort study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, this appears advisable at least for young women carrying an increased risk of breast cancer. The results of the EVA trial confirm once more that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is substantially more accurate for early diagnosis of breast cancer than digital mammography or breast ultrasound: MRI is three times more sensitive for breast cancer than digital mammography.

Related Articles


For the EVA trial, almost 700 women were enrolled. Aim of the trial was to refine existing guidelines for surveillance of women at high and moderately increased risk of breast cancer. Findings suggest that in these women, MRI is essential for early diagnosis -- and that a mammogram or an ultrasound examination does not increase the "cancer yield" compared to what is achieved by MRI alone. Researchers conclude that annual MRI is not only necessary, but in fact sufficient for screening young women at elevated risk of breast cancer. In women undergoing screening MRI, mammograms will have no benefit and should be discontinued. Moreover, MRI screening is important not only for women at high risk, but also for those at moderately increased risk.

Between 2002 and 2007, the EVA trial recruited 687 women who carried a moderately increased risk of breast cancer (lifetime risk of 20% and over). Women underwent 1679 screening rounds consisting of annual MRI, annual digital mammography and half-annual screening ultrasound examinations. During this time span, 27 women received a new diagnosis of invasive cancer or DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ).

Of all imaging methods under investigation (digital mammography, ultrasound and MRI), MRI offered by far the highest sensitivity: MRI identified 93% of breast cancers. 37% of cancers were picked up by ultrasound. The lowest sensitivity was achieved by digital mammography, which identified only one-third of breast cancers (33%). These results confirm once more that MRI is essential for surveillance not only of women at high risk, but also for women at moderately increased risk of breast cancer. Moreover, the results contradict current guidelines according to which mammography is considered indispensable for breast cancer screening. One aim of the EVA trial was to question this concept and to ask whether it is still appropriate to require that MRI should only be used in addition to mammography. The results speak for themselves: If an MRI is available, then the added value of mammography is literally negligible. Researchers conclude that MRI is necessary as well as sufficient for screening young women at elevated risk of breast cancer. Since mammography appears to be unnecessary in women undergoing MRI, its use is no longer justifiable, and current guidelines should be revised to reflect this.

Current guidelines questionable

Current guidelines for women at high familial risk of breast cancer recommend annual MRI (with or without ultrasound) and annual MRI starting at age 25-30. "These guidelines were set up based on little or no scientific evidence, and mainly reflect expert opinion," summarizes Prof. Christiane Kuhl, radiologist at the University of Bonn and principal investigator of the EVA trial. "In the light of the results of the EVA trial, such recommendations should be revisited." This seems even more important because digital mammography uses x-rays (ionizing radiation) to detect breast cancer. "The radiation dose associated with regular mammographic screening is clearly acceptable and safe," underscores Kuhl. "However, regular mammographic screening usually starts at age 40-50." The situation is different if systematic annual mammographic screening is started at age 25-30. "Not only because these women will undergo more mammograms and therefore will experience a cumulative lifetime radiation dose that will be substantially higher, but also because the breast tissue of young women is more vulnerable to the mutagenic effects of radiation." This appears to be especially true for BRCA mutation carriers. "Accordingly, we impose more radiation on less radiation-tolerant breast tissue -- for a very limited, if any, diagnostic benefit." Therefore, Kuhl advocates a revision of existing guidelines: "It is no longer justifiable to insist on annual mammographic screening women in their thirties if they have access to screening MRI."

MRI is a mature technology

In the past, MRI was used strictly in addition to mammography only. The allegedly high rate of "false positive" diagnoses and the allegedly insufficient sensitivity for DCIS were the main reason to discourage its use as a stand-alone method for breast cancer screening. "In this multicenter trial, with basic quality assurance implemented not only for mammography, but also for MRI, we were able to prove that false positive diagnoses are avoidable if MRI studies are interpreted with adequate radiologist expertise." In the EVA cohort, the Positive Predictive Value achieved with MRI was already even higher than that of mammography or breast ultrasound. "Moreover, we found that MRI offered the highest sensitivity especially for DCIS," adds Dr. Kuhl. "It is simply wrong to state that we need a mammogram to detect intraductal cancer."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bonn. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kuhl et al. Prospective Multicenter Cohort Study to Refine Management Recommendations for Women at Elevated Familial Risk of Breast Cancer: The EVA Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2010; DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2009.23.0839

Cite This Page:

University of Bonn. "Breast cancer screening: MRI sensitive, no added value with mammography, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100226101326.htm>.
University of Bonn. (2010, March 8). Breast cancer screening: MRI sensitive, no added value with mammography, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100226101326.htm
University of Bonn. "Breast cancer screening: MRI sensitive, no added value with mammography, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100226101326.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins