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Clin Radiol. 1999 Jul;54(7):459-61.

MRI in routine breast cancer follow-up: correlation with clinical outcome.

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  • 1University Department of Radiology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.



Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast has been shown to be useful as an additional imaging test in patients suspected of having recurrent disease, when clinical examination or mammography are equivocal. This study examines the utility of MRI as a routine test in the follow-up of treated breast cancer patients without equivocal clinical or imaging findings.


Contrast-enhanced breast MRI was performed as part of routine breast cancer follow-up in 26 patients with equivocal clinical or mammographic findings and 33 control patients in whom clinical and imaging findings were consistent with post-treatment changes only. Clinical outcome was assessed at 3 years post MRI.


Four patients with equivocal clinical or mammographic findings had abnormal MRI: all MRI abnormalities were subsequently shown to represent benign disease. None of the equivocal group developed local recurrence, although two of 26 developed distant metastases. One of the control group had unsuspected distant metastases detected by MRI: the other 32 patients had no significant abnormality on MRI. Three patients subsequently developed local tumour recurrence.


A single normal breast MRI examination during follow-up is a poor predictor of subsequent local recurrence.

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