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J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2010;2010(41):150-1. doi: 10.1093/jncimonographs/lgq030.

Magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation of ductal carcinoma in situ.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, 825 Eastlake Ave E., G2-600, Seattle, WA 98109-1023, USA.


Before 2000, breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was considered a relatively poor imaging tool for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), as a high percentage of false-negative magnetic resonance examinations were cases of DCIS. Three specific shifts in breast MRI occurred, which changed this assessment: 1) a shift from high temporal to high spatial imaging, revealing specific morphological features on MRI suspicious for DCIS; 2) a shift from diagnostic studies of patients with cancers identified on mammography to screening studies of high-risk patients, allowing more accurate comparisons of mammography vs MRI in detecting the full spectrum of breast cancers regardless of appearance on mammography; and 3) a shift from emphasis on masses to improved understanding of features of non-mass-like malignant lesions, distinct from benign background parenchymal enhancement patterns. Over the last decade, research has confirmed that of all imaging tools, MRI has the highest sensitivity in detection of DCIS (compared with mammography and ultrasound). Future studies are needed to clarify how best to use this tool for improved patient outcomes.

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