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SABCS: Diagnostic Technique Detects Small Breast Tumors

Molecular breast imaging seen as possible adjunct to mammography for screening select patients

TUESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Molecular breast imaging (MBI) -- a new diagnostic technique that uses dual cadmium-zinc-telluride (CZT) gamma cameras -- accurately detects small breast tumors and causes less patient discomfort than conventional mammography, according to research presented this week at the 29th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Michael O'Connor, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues performed MBI studies on 70 patients with suspicious breast lesions (BIRAD 4-5, and diameter less than 2 cm on mammography or ultrasound) who were scheduled for biopsy. During the 10-minute procedure, considerably less force was applied to the subjects' breasts than is typical in mammography (15 pounds versus 45 pounds).

The researchers found that 38 patients had breast cancer, with a total of 58 lesions, and that 31 had benign disease. One patient was lost to follow-up. They found that MBI had an overall sensitivity of 93 percent, a 92 percent sensitivity in detecting tumors 6 mm to 10 mm in size and an 88 percent sensitivity in detecting tumors 5 mm or less in size.

"Preliminary results with a dual-detector MBI system demonstrate very high sensitivity (90 percent) for the detection of small breast tumors," the authors conclude. "This sensitivity is approximately 15 percent higher than previously obtained in our laboratory with a single CZT detector system. This technology is currently under evaluation as an adjunct to mammography for screening women at high risk of breast cancer who have mammographically dense breasts."


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