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Breast J. 1999 Jan;5(1):13-21.

Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Assess Tumor Histopathology and Angiogenesis in Breast Carcinoma.

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Departments of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California; Departments of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco, California; Departments of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, California.


Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI) is a potentially powerful new tool in the early diagnosis and staging of patients with breast carcinoma. Rapid contrast enhancement is suggestive of carcinoma and likely related to high tumor vascularity. We have developed a new cMRI technique that combines anatomic and kinetic information to help characterize breast carcinomas. Signal enhancement ratio (SER) patterns (which quantitate the kinetics of contrast enhancement using a three time point high-resolution method) were correlated in tumors from 32 patients with histopathology and tumor angiogenesis as measured by intratumoral microvessel density (iMVD). Early signal enhancement with rapid washout of intravenous contrast (i.e., corresponding to high SER values) correlated with high tumor vascularity. We found that TARGET MRI with SER analysis has potential as a tool for characterizing breast carcinoma in vivo. It enables anatomic visualization of tumor and appears to add biologic information as well, such as level of tumor angiogenesis.


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