Personal History of Breast Cancer? Consider Annual MRI
A study presented last weekend at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) brings into question current guidelines of The American Cancer Society (ACS). 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 presented the findings that offer more hope for women who have a personal history of the disease.
"In our study using breast MRI screening,” said Dr. DeMartini, “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.” The American Cancer Society currently only recommends annual MRI screenings for women with greater than 20 percent lifetime risk of breast cancer. Women of this risk level are those with a strong family history of the disease, or women who are known to carry the gene mutation allowing susceptibility to the disease.
"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," said DeMartini.
DeMartini and her research team reviewed initial screening breast MRI data covering more than five years regarding 1,026 women, 327 of whom carried genetic or family history of breast cancer and 646 of whom had already experienced some sort of treatment for breast cancer.
Women with a personal history of breast cancer were twice as likely to yield a positive test result as women with family history or the known genetic mutation. Perhaps most enlightening were data showing biopsy recommendations for only 9.3 percent of women with the personal history of breast cancer, nearly half of the 15 percent recommended for the other group.
"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."