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New statistical model could help reduce breast-lesion biopsies
Date:11/29/2008

SEATTLE A new method of characterizing breast lesions found during an MRI exam could result in fewer biopsies of benign tumors with the benefits of reduced pain and expense for patients and providers, according to a paper that will be presented today (Sunday, Nov. 30) at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Wendy DeMartini, M.D., and colleagues in the breast imaging department at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance developed a preliminary statistical model that breast radiologists could use eventually when deciding whether a lesion found on breast MRI is likely to be malignant or benign. Their retrospective review of almost 2,600 breast MRI exams performed during a four-year period at the SCCA found three crucial patient and lesion characteristics that, when used in combination, could predict the likelihood of malignancy, including identifying some lesions with probabilities of cancer close to zero.

Such a model, if confirmed by more research, could be beneficial because MRI exams are so sensitive that they reveal cancerous and non-cancerous lesions that often look alike and behave similarly when contrast dye is injected into the patient. Biopsy is often necessary to determine whether a lesion is cancerous. Statistical models may improve the ability to distinguish between such lesions and avoid unnecessary biopsies.

The researchers looked at several patient and lesion characteristics that radiologists take into account now when deciding whether a biopsy is required for diagnosis. They found three categories of characteristics that, when taken together, were the best at predicting malignancy. These were the reason that the women was having a breast MRI, the size of the lesion, and the lesion enhancement pattern from the the MRI contrast dye.

Lesions found in women undergoing MRI to look for additional malignancy after new breast cancer diagnosis, lesions that were found to be larger than one centimeter, and th
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Contact: Dean Forbes
dforbes@fhcrc.org
206-605-0311
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

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