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Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 2011 Aug;32(4):319-30. doi: 10.1053/j.sult.2011.02.005.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the breast for cancer diagnosis and staging.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Texas A & M University School of Medicine, Scott & White Healthcare, Temple, USA.


Gadolinium-enhanced breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is optimally suited for the diagnosis and assessment of breast cancer. The complete breast MRI examination, which includes select nonenhanced sequences, yields abundant information about the nature and stage of disease. In this article, we will explore cancer diagnosis by examining the main imaging features of breast malignancy as well as the assessment of surrounding structures. We will then discuss current ideas in the use of breast MRI in breast cancer, including high-risk screening, evaluation of extent of disease, role in surgical planning, and the use of MRI in the patient receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Breast MRI plays an important role in the assessment of patients with breast malignancy-a role that is yet to be fully defined and used. By understanding the strengths and weakness of this imaging method in cancer evaluation, we hope to highlight the appropriate uses of the technique.

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