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Magn Reson Imaging. 2013 Jan;31(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2012.06.022. Epub 2012 Aug 13.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of hormone-induced breast changes in young premenopausal women.

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  • 1New York University School of Medicine, Department of Environmental Medicine, Divison of Epidemiology, New York, NY 10016, USA.



We conducted a pilot study to identify whether MRI parameters are sensitive to hormone-induced changes in the breast during the natural menstrual cycle and whether changes could also be observed during an oral contraceptive (OC) cycle.


The New York University Langone Medical Center Institutional Review Board approved this HIPAA-compliant prospective study. All participants provided written informed consent. Participants were aged 24-31 years.We measured several non-contrast breast MRI parameters during each week of a single menstrual cycle (among 9 women) and OC cycle (among 8 women). Hormones were measured to confirm ovulation and classify menstrual cycle phase among naturally cycling women and to monitor OC compliance among OC users. We investigated how the non-contrast MRI parameters of breast fibroglandular tissue (FGT), apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), magnetization transfer ratio (MTR), and transverse relaxation time (T2) varied over the natural and the OC cycles.


We observed significant increases in MRI FGT% and ADC in FGT, and longer T2 in FGT in the luteal vs. follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. We did not observe any consistent pattern of change for any of the MRI parameters among women using OCs.


MRI is sensitive to hormone-induced breast tissue changes during the menstrual cycle. Larger studies are needed to assess whether MRI is also sensitive to the effects of exogenous hormones, such as various OC formulations, on the breast tissue of young premenopausal women.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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