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BCS: Molecular Breast Imaging Is Effective Diagnostic Tool

In high-risk women, technique identifies three times as many tumors as standard mammography

THURSDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Among high-risk women who have dense breast patterns on an initial mammogram, molecular breast imaging may be significantly more accurate than a follow-up mammogram in detecting breast cancer, according to research presented at the 2008 Breast Cancer Symposium, held Sept. 5 to 7 in Washington, D.C.

Carrie B. Hruska, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues screened 940 women with both molecular breast imaging and mammography.

The researchers detected 13 tumors in 12 patients, including eight identified by molecular breast imaging alone, one by mammography alone, two by both techniques, and two by neither technique. They also found that 27.8 percent of 36 biopsies prompted by molecular breast imaging were positive for cancer compared to 17.6 percent of the 17 biopsies prompted by mammography. The rates of sensitivity for molecular breast imaging and mammography were 75 percent and 25 percent, respectively, while the rates of specificity were 93.2 percent and 91.3 percent, respectively.

"These results suggest that molecular breast imaging could become an important screening tool for women who have dense breast tissue and increased breast cancer risk," Hruska said in a statement. "Larger trials are needed to further validate our research, but it is encouraging to find that molecular breast imaging can detect cancers that are not easily visible on screening mammography. Our next step will be to compare molecular breast imaging prospectively to other screening methods, such as MRI."

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