Abbreviated breast MRI (AB-MR) may be a valuable cancer detection tool,among women with dense breast tissue, for whom traditional mammograms are less effective at detecting cancer, who request additional screening after a negative mammogram, .
In a study of 195 asymptomatic women with dense breast tissue who had a negative mammogram within the previous 11 months, AB-MR detected five additional cancers after a negative screening mammography, according to preliminary findings from a Penn Medicine team presented this week at the Radiological Society of North America meeting in Chicago.
To put this in perspective, the cancer detection rate of mammography is roughly 4 cancers in 1,000 women who have a mammogram. Digital tomosynthesis (DBT), or 3D mammography, does slightly better, detecting approximately 25 percent more cancers, or roughly 5 cancers in 1,000 women screened. Based on the preliminary results at Penn Medicine, the cancer detection rate of AB-MR screening is 25 cancers per 1,000 patients. One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point during their life.
The most common exam offered for asymptomatic patients seeking supplemental screening is a whole breast screening ultrasound examination.
Based on the results from Penn's study, the AB-MR may be a better option. American Cancer Society guidelines currently recommend a full breast MRI, not an AB-MR, in women who, based on family history of breast or ovarian cancer and/or previous treatment for Hodgkin disease, have a 20 to 25 percent or greater lifetime risk of breast cancer.