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Lancet. 2010 Feb 13;375(9714):563-71. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)62070-5.

Comparative effectiveness of MRI in breast cancer (COMICE) trial: a randomised controlled trial.

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Centre for Magnetic Resonance Investigations, Hull Royal Infirmary, Hull, UK.



MRI might improve diagnosis of breast cancer, reducing rates of reoperation. We assessed the clinical efficacy of contrast-enhanced MRI in women with primary breast cancer.


We undertook an open, parallel group trial in 45 UK centres, with 1623 women aged 18 years or older with biopsy-proven primary breast cancer who were scheduled for wide local excision after triple assessment. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either MRI (n=816) or no further imaging (807), with use of a minimisation algorithm incorporating a random element. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients undergoing a repeat operation or further mastectomy within 6 months of random assignment, or a pathologically avoidable mastectomy at initial operation. Analysis was by intention to treat. This study is registered, ISRCTN number 57474502.


816 patients were randomly assigned to MRI and 807 to no MRI. Addition of MRI to conventional triple assessment was not significantly associated with reduced a reoperation rate, with 153 (19%) needing reoperation in the MRI group versus 156 (19%) in the no MRI group, (odds ratio 0.96, 95% CI 0.75-1.24; p=0.77).


Our findings are of benefit to the NHS because they show that MRI might be unnecessary in this population of patients to reduce repeat operation rates, and could assist in improved use of NHS services.


National Institute for Health Research's Health Technology Assessment Programme.

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