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J Am Coll Surg. 2008 May;206(5):1045-50; discussion 1050-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2007.12.039. Epub 2008 Mar 17.

Is there a role for routine use of MRI in selection of patients for breast-conserving cancer therapy?

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Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.



The role of preoperative bilateral breast MRI in breast cancer patients being considered for breast-conserving therapy has been controversial. We hypothesized that preoperative MRI, along with an active program in MRI-directed biopsies, would lead to a change in multidisciplinary treatment planning for patients being considered for breast-conserving cancer therapy, and it would be associated with reduced rates of margin-positive partial mastectomies.


A retrospective review of a consecutive series of patients who were treated for breast cancer at a single center between January 2005 and July 2007 was conducted. Patients in the study were candidates for breast-conserving cancer therapy based on physical examination, mammography, and ultrasonography. All patients were evaluated by a preoperative breast MRI. Analysis included number and result of MRI-directed biopsies, impact of MRI on treatment planning, and incidence of margin-positive partial mastectomy within the series of patients.


Seventy-nine female patients were analyzed. Median age was 57 years. MRI led to the performance of 25 MRI-directed biopsies for previously unrecognized suspicious lesions in 21 patients. Forty-four percent of MRI-directed biopsies were positive for cancer. MRI was associated with a change in management in 15 patients (19%) for multicentric ipsilateral cancer (n = 7), a more extensive primary lesion size (n = 6), or contralateral breast cancer (n = 2). Incidence of margin-positive partial mastectomy requiring additional resective operation was very low in this series (10%).


Bilateral breast MRI, when used in conjunction with MRI-directed biopsy procedures, can be helpful in planning multidisciplinary treatment of candidates for breast-conserving cancer therapy. By allowing more accurate local staging of tumors, MRI is a tool that can be used to help reduce high reexcision rates for margin-positive partial mastectomies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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