A pilot study of trimodality breast imaging surveillance in young women at high risk of breast cancer in Western Australia

Christobel Saunders, Gudrun Peters, Glenys Longman, J. Thomson, D. Taylor, J. Hua, M. Bennett, Liz Wylie, Jack Goldblatt, A. Chan, J. Anderson

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    Objective: To determine whether a surveillance program including clinical breast examination (CBE) and three screening modalities (magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], high-resolution ultrasound [U/S] and mammographic x-ray [MMX]) was feasible, and whether it could improve detection of pathological lesions in young women at high risk of developing breast cancer.Design, setting and participants: Western Australian women aged 50 years or under at high risk of developing breast cancer were recruited to our study. For a 2-year period, they were offered breast MRI and U/S scans in addition to their annual MMX and CBE. Our study was conducted between June 2002 and October 2005.Main outcome measures: Number and type of cancerous or precancerous lesions; recall rates after screening; comparative sensitivity of screening modalities.Results: Of 102 women approached, 72 agreed to participate. Fifteen lesions were detected, of which three were significant: a metastatic papillary cancer in an axillary lymph node, a borderline lesion (multiple papillomatosis with atypia), and a papilloma. All 15 lesions were visible on MRI, and four were detected by MRI only. Only one lesion was visible on all three imaging modalities. Nothing significant was detected by CBE. The recall rate after MRI scans fell from 9/72 (12.5%) in the first year to 5/67 (7.5%) in the second year.Conclusion: Our study gave valuable experience in a team approach to screening MRI, and showed that MRI can detect more lesions than MMX or U/S in women at high risk of developing breast cancer. Screening U/S may not add value to MMX and MRI screening, and we suggest a single oblique-view MMX may be used in some cases.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)330-333
    JournalMedical Journal of Australia
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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