Feature | October 29, 2008 | Antonio Garcia, industry manager, Medical Imaging Group, Frost

MBI Takes On FFDM

Molecular breast imaging rivals FFDM for dense breasts, but will it be readily adopted?

MBI Takes On FFDM

These photos provided by the Mayo Clinic show dense breasts, which mammograms don't penetrate well. The left image is a 50-year-old's digital mammogram, showing no problems. The right image is that same woman's MRI, showing what turned out to be an early

X-ray mammography is considered the “gold standard” for breast cancer screening in the breast imaging equipment market. The procedure is generally seen as the most effective option for women needing a diagnosis of any abnormalities in the breasts. However, with recent advances in other diagnostic breast cancer tests, such as breast MRI and molecular breast imaging, mammography may slip from its golden status.
Widespread Application
Mammograms aren’t necessarily the most effective but rather, the most available method for diagnosing breast cancer. While the analog segment in mammography continually declines in revenue growth – revenues are based on manufacturer revenues from sales of equipment to hospitals, private radiology practices, clinics and imaging centers – substantial growth is seen in full-field digital (FFDM) X-ray mammography, which is still a driver in this segment. Indeed, according to Frost & Sullivan’s discussions with hospital facility procurement officers, FFDM is certainly deemed a “priority” purchase in 2009.
The total North American breast imaging equipment market was $910.3 million in 2007. X-ray mammography contributes to 67 percent of this figure, and is expected to maintain this healthy dominance in the total breast imaging market going forward.
However, given recent trends and the results of some highly anticipated studies, mammography may at some point yield to some more sophisticated – and more accurate – methods for detection of cancers in women.
New Rivals to Mammography
Granted, mammography has its competition: breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear breast imaging and breast ultrasound. However, new promise is seen in molecular breast imaging (MBI), a new experimental method that is currently in advanced testing at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. MBI reveals more tumors and gives fewer false positives, when compared to mammography.
In the largest study ever to compare MBI to mammography, researchers have shown that MBI can detect three times as many cancers in women who have dense breast patterns (as seen on pg. 37) and are at increased risk of breast cancer (due to personal or family history or a previous precancerous condition).
In the MBI procedure, women are given an intravenous dose of a short-acting tracer that is absorbed more by abnormal cells than by healthy ones. Special cameras then collect the “glow” these cells give off, and doctors examine the picture to spot tumors.
The results of the study were presented the first week of September at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 2008 Breast Cancer Symposium in Washington, D.C. A follow-up clinical study comparing MBI to MRI is next; these results should be interesting, as MBI is more expensive than mammography, yet only one-fifth the cost of breast MRI.
But an MBI is not necessarily for every woman. Rather than replace mammograms for women at average risk for cancer, MBIs might become an additional tool for higher-risk women with a lot of dense tissue that makes tumors hard to spot on mammograms and at a lower cost than MRI (about one-fourth of women 40 and older have dense breasts). With an aging population, this translates to a larger market of higher-risk women, thereby making the availability of MBI an attractive option for a hospital or clinic.
Cost of Improving Detection
Cost, of course, is always an issue. More advanced, digital systems can cost nearly five times that of an existing system, and without ample data from multiple studies and rather limited success stories, buyers may be reluctant to make a spend. This is certainly true for private radiology practices that need to manage costs very tightly.
It is costly for manufacturers too. GE Healthcare or Siemens Medical Solutions would only consider producing such systems if a sizeable enough market could exist. Adoption of MBI monitors perhaps might be slow at the beginning, but as hospitals rush to purchase state-of-the-art equipment, GE and Siemens could eventually realize profit. Additionally, manufacturers can harness the power of their education, training and support communities to drive incremental revenues from training hospital personnel – perhaps staff mammographers or sonographers – in the use of the MBI system.

Related Content

The MOZART Supra Specimen Tomosynthesis System is the latest generation of 3-D imaging for breast cancer surgery.
News | Breast Imaging | November 08, 2018
KUBTEC announced the launch of a new innovation in the treatment of breast cancer. The Mozart Supra Specimen...
MEDraysintell Projects Increasing Mergers and Acquisitions in Nuclear Medicine
News | Nuclear Imaging | November 07, 2018
With the recent announcement by Novartis to acquire Endocyte , interest from the conventional pharmaceutical industry...
Deaconess Health System Chooses Sectra as Enterprise Imaging Vendor
News | Enterprise Imaging | November 02, 2018
International medical imaging information technology (IT) and cybersecurity company Sectra will install its enterprise...
Volpara Enterprise Cloud Reaches 1 Million Mammograms Stored
News | Mammography | October 31, 2018
Volpara Solutions announced that the data stored in the Volpara Enterprise cloud now exceeds 1 million mammographic...
Etta Pisano Named American College of Radiology Chief Research Officer
News | Radiology Business | October 25, 2018
October 25, 2018 — Breast imaging research pioneer Etta Pisano, M.D., FACR, has been named...
DenseBreast-info.org Launches Patient Education Video Series
News | Breast Density | October 24, 2018
DenseBreast-info.org (DB-I) announced the release of "Let's Talk About Dense Breasts," a series of three informational...
Explaining the Mammography Quality Standards Act
Feature | Mammography | October 16, 2018
The Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) was enacted to improve the quality of mammography and ensure that all...
iCAD Announces Positive Clinical Results for Artificial Intelligence Tomosynthesis Technology
News | Mammography | October 11, 2018
iCAD Inc. announced positive clinical results of its new digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) cancer detection software,...
"Where's My Mammogram?" Campaign Helps Women Own Breast Health Records
News | Breast Imaging | October 10, 2018
October 10, 2018 — Mammosphere launched “Where’s My Mammogram?,” a public service campaign to help women obtain copie
DenseBreast-info.org Launches European Expansion
News | Breast Density | October 10, 2018
DenseBreast-info.org (DB-I) announced the launch of its international expansion for European medical providers. The...