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Increase in Breast MRI Screening From 2005 to 2009

Two studies show increases in MRI use; few meet criteria of American Cancer Society for screening

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The use of breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in women increased through 2009, according to two studies published online Nov. 18 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Karen J. Wernli, Ph.D., from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, and colleagues describe patterns of breast MRI use in U.S. community practice from 2005 through 2009 using data from five national registries. The researchers found that the overall rate of breast MRI nearly tripled during this time period, from 4.2 examinations per 1,000 women in 2005 to 11.5 per 1,000 women in 2009. Diagnostic evaluation was the most common clinical indication (40.3 percent), followed by screening (31.7 percent). From 2005 to 2009, the proportion of women screened at high lifetime risk for breast cancer (more than 20 percent) increased from 9 to 29 percent.

Natasha K. Stout, Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues describe breast MRI trends and indications in a community setting in New England from 2000 through 2011. The researchers observed more than a 20-fold increase in breast MRI use, from 6.5 per 10,000 women in 2000 to 130.7 per 10,000 women in 2009, followed by a decrease to 104.8 in 2011. Screening and surveillance were rare indications in 2000, but accounted for 57.6 percent of MRI use by 2011. Only 21 percent of women with electronic medical records who received screening or surveillance MRIs met the American Cancer Society criteria for breast MRI.

"Efforts are needed to ensure that breast MRI use and documentation are focused on those women who will benefit most," Stout and colleagues write.

Two authors from the Wernli study disclosed financial ties to the medical technology industry.

Abstract - Wernli
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Abstract - Stout
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