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MRI finds breast cancer before it becomes dangerous
Date:8/13/2007

st cancer medicine

It has been known for a long time that MRI is superior to mammography as far as the diagnosis of invasive breast cancer is concerned. However, the search for DCIS to date has been the preserve of mammography. It highlights small calcifications which form in the milk ducts affected. On the MRI scan, depositions of this kind are invisible. Therefore MRI was hitherto seen as unsuited for detecting intraductal carcinoma, which was one of the main reasons for only using mammography for the early detection of breast cancer.

With their results the Bonn researchers confounded this textbook wisdom. A total of 7319 women were investigated by Professor Kuhl and her colleagues in the last five years using both methods. In 167 of them they found early stages of breast cancer. 'Using mammography only 93 cases of DCIS could be seen, compared with 153 cases detected by MRT,' is how Professor Kuhl sums up the results. 'And not only that: it was above all the particularly aggressive high-grade DCIS which were especially reliably picked up using MRI, but especially difficult to detect using mammography.'

A total of 89 cases of high-grade DCIS were discovered by the doctors in the course of the study. MRI, detected 98 per cent of these aggressive pre-invasive breast cancers , with mammography only detecting 52 per cent. The reason for this was that as it appears, in particular the fast growing tumours do not develop the calcifications which constitute the basis of mammographic DCIS diagnosis. Instead, these DCIS are pervaded by many small blood vessels in which the contrast medium that is injected for an MRT scan collects particularly well.

Professor Kuhl concludes from this that Our study demolishes a whole series of textbook dogmas. Firstly, it was always said that MRT was not able to find early stages of breast cancer in the milk ducts. As our results show, the opposite is true. MRT is far more sensitive than mammography.' The second prejudice
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Contact: Professor Christiane Kuhl
kuhl@uni-bonn.de
49-022-828-719-875
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert

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