Feature | May 21, 2015

MRI Shows Potential to Improve Breast Cancer Risk Prediction

breast MRI, breast cancer, risk prediction, Rahbar

May 21, 2015 — Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides important information about a woman’s future risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study published in Radiology. Researchers said the findings support an expanded role for MRI in more personalized approaches to breast cancer screening and prevention.

The new study focused on the relationship between imaging features and cancer risk in women who already face a high risk of breast cancer because of family history, genetic mutations associated with the disease or other factors. In prior studies, dense breast tissue, or tissue that contains more fibroglandular tissue than fatty tissue, has been linked to an increased likelihood of breast cancer development.

“To date, it’s been difficult to assess the future risk of breast cancer for women, so there is a strong desire in the oncology community to identify ways to better determine this risk,” said study co-author Habib Rahbar, M.D., a breast imaging expert at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and assistant professor at the University of Washington. “While breast density is loosely associated with the risk of developing breast cancer, it is unclear whether it or other imaging features can improve upon current risk assessment methods.”

Contrast-enhanced MRI is one potential tool that is already used as an imaging option to supplement mammography in high-risk women. Current American Cancer Society guidelines recommend that women with a 20 percent or greater lifetime risk of developing breast cancer undergo annual screening breast MRIs in addition to routine annual screening mammography.

In the new study, Rahbar and colleagues reviewed screening breast MR images from high-risk women 18 years or older with no history of breast cancer who were screened at their institution from January 2006 to December 2011.

The researchers looked for any associations between cancer risk and imaging features, including breast density and background parenchymal enhancement (BPE). BPE is a phenomenon in which areas of normal background breast tissue appear white, or enhanced, on the MR images. The precise reasons for this enhancement are not clear, but previous research has suggested a possible link to cancer risk.

The results showed that women who displayed elevated amounts of BPE on MRI were nine times more likely to have a breast cancer diagnosis during the study follow-up interval than those who exhibited no or minimal BPE. In contrast, mammographic density appeared to have no significant relationship to cancer risk in the study group.

The findings suggest that BPE could potentially help physicians better tailor screening and management strategies to each individual’s breast cancer risk. Currently, women at high risk for breast cancer have various options, including supplementing screening mammography with MRI, prevention therapy with tamoxifen — a drug that blocks estrogen activity in the breast — and preventive mastectomies. If validated in larger studies, BPE could provide more information to help guide these important decisions.

“MRI could be used in a broader group of women to determine who most needs supplemental screening based on their BPE levels,” Rahbar said. “This is important as we move into an era of more personalized medicine.”

The researchers are working to validate the findings in a larger group of patients and are planning additional research to understand more about why BPE may serve as a biomarker of breast cancer risk. One theory is that BPE is related to areas of inflammation associated with early stages of the disease.

“Breast cancer needs a supportive environment to grow, and recent research suggests that areas of inflammation are particularly conducive for such growth,” Rahbar said.

For more information: www.radiologyinfo.org

Related Content

Russian Team Developing New Technology to Significantly Reduce MRI Research Costs
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | January 16, 2018
January 16, 2018 — Researchers from the NUST MISIS Engineering Center for Industrial Technologies in Russia have deve
Transpara Deep Learning Software Matches Experienced Radiologists in Mammogram Reading
News | Computer-Aided Detection Software | January 12, 2018
Deep learning and artificial intelligence improves the efficiency and accuracy of reading mammograms, according to...
Fat Distribution in Women and Men Provides Clues to Heart Attack Risk
News | Women's Health | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 – It’s not the amount of fat in your body but where it is stored that may increase your risk for hea
Smartphone Addiction Creates Imbalance in Brain
News | Mobile Devices | January 11, 2018
Researchers have found an imbalance in the brain chemistry of young people addicted to smartphones and the internet,...
Emergency Radiologists See Inner Toll of Opioid Use Disorders

Rates of Imaging Positivity for IV-SUDs Complications. Image courtesy of Efren J. Flores, M.D.

News | Clinical Study | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 – Emergency radiologists are seeing a high prevalence of patients with complications related to opio
Minimally Invasive Treatment Provides Relief from Back Pain

Lumbar spine MRI showing disc herniation and nerve root at baseline and one month after treatment

News | Interventional Radiology | January 11, 2018
The majority of patients were pain free after receiving a new image-guided pulsed radiofrequency treatment for low back...
Study Finds No Evidence that Gadolinium Causes Neurologic Harm

MR images through, A, C, E, basal ganglia and, B, D, F, posterior fossa at level of dentate nucleus. Images are shown for, A, B, control group patient 4, and the, C, D, first and, E, F, last examinations performed in contrast group patient 13. Regions of interest used in quantification of signal intensity are shown as dashed lines for globus pallidus (green), thalamus (blue), dentate nucleus (yellow), and pons (red).

News | Contrast Media | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 — There is no evidence that accumulation in the brain of the element gadolinium speeds cognitive dec
CT Shows Enlarged Aortas in Former Pro Football Players

3-D rendering from a cardiac CT dataset demonstrating mild dilation of the ascending aorta.

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | January 11, 2018
Former National Football League (NFL) players are more likely to have enlarged aortas, a condition that may put them at...

Size comparison between 3-D printed prosthesis implant and a penny.

News | 3-D Printing | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 — Researchers using...
RSNA 2017 technical exhibits, expo floor, showing new radiology technology advances.
Feature | RSNA 2017 | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 — Here is a list of some of the key clinical study presentations, articles on trends and videos from
Overlay Init