Risk of Background Changes on Breast MRI Reexamined

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Barbara Bennani-Baiti, MD, MS

Dr. Bennani-Baiti

Barbara Bennani-Baiti, MD, MS and

Pascal Andreas Baltzer MD

Dr. P. Baltzer

Pascal Andreas Baltzer MD
Departement of Biomedical Imaging and Nuclear Medicine
Medical University of Vienna
Vienna, Austria

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Breast MRI ist the most sensitive method for detecting breast cancer. It is currently routinely used in the screening of high-risk patients and as an additional imaging technique in case of inconclusive conventional imaging (mammography and ultrasound).

Besides its high sensitivity for detection of breast cancer, breast MRI further provides functional information about normal breast tissue perfusion. Background parenchymal enhancement (BPE) reflects the perfusion or vascularization of the breast and is generally higher in active breast tissue. High-risk patients harbor breast tissue that is at an elevated risk for breast cancer due to several factors (i.e. mutations such as BRCA1, high familial risk, previous radiation of the chest wall, etc.). After a connection between increased breast cancer odds and elevated BPE has been shown in high-risk patients, the community has since assumed that an elevated background enhancement at breast MRI equates an elevated risk for breast cancer for all women. We have shown that this not true for women that are not considered high-risk. In fact, the only risk factor for women undergoing breast MRI without additional risk factors is age.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Elevated background parenchymal enhancemenat breast MRI has been observed to constitute a risk indicator for breast cancer in women that are deemed high-risk, and an elevated BPE in these women should probably be accounted for when decisions for preventive measures are taken.

Elevated levels of background parenchymal enhancement in women without additional risk factors is not indicative of an increased risk for breast cancer, does not need to be communicated to the patient and the patient can be safely returned to routine screening if the breast MRI scan reveals no lesions.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future research should confirm or refute the initial data on a connection of elevated BPE and breast cancer risk in high-risk patients by means of multicentric studies. All prior studies were based in single centers only and used the less preferable case-control study design.


MRI Background Parenchymal Enhancement Is Not Associated with Breast Cancer
Barbara Bennani-Baiti ,Matthias Dietzel,Pascal Andreas Baltzer
Published: July 5, 2016

PLOS http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0158573

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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