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Breast Imaging Useful for Assessing Cancer Extent

Should not be solely used to make surgical decisions

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Breast MRI can be useful for assessing the extent of disease in women diagnosed with breast cancer, but surgical treatment decisions should not be made solely on breast MRI results, according to a review in the February issue of the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Constance D. Lehman, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues reviewed the published clinical research trials evaluating the use of breast MRI in patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer, which were used to develop the National Comprehensive Cancer Network practice guidelines. The current guidelines recommend that breast MRI be used to assess the extent of ipsilateral disease and to screen the contralateral breast, they note.

The authors note that breast MRI may be used in patients with new biopsy-proven breast cancer and in patients with an axillary nodal adenocarcinoma to identify the primary malignancy. However, as a newer technology, clear standards are needed regarding technical parameters and performance measures, they add. MRI centers should also be able to perform MRI-guided biopsy or needle localization. Breast MRI alone should not be used to make surgical decisions and additional tissue sampling may be needed, the authors write.

"In experienced centers, breast MRI is well documented to provide improved cancer detection and diagnosis with acceptable specificity," Lehman and colleagues conclude.

Lehman and another study author report financial relationships with medical companies.

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