BACKGROUND: Contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) is more available than MRI for breast cancer staging but may not be as sensitive in assessing disease extent. We compared CEM and MRI in this setting.
METHODS: Fifty-nine women with invasive breast cancer underwent preoperative CEM and MRI. Independent pairs of radiologists read CEM studies (after reviewing a 9-case set prior to study commencement) and MRI studies (with between 5 and 25 years of experience in breast imaging). Additional lesions were assigned National Breast Cancer Centre (NBCC) scores. Positive lesions (graded NBCC ≥ 3) likely to influence surgical management underwent ultrasound and/or needle biopsy. True-positive lesions were positive on imaging and pathology (invasive or in situ). False-positive lesions were positive on imaging but negative on pathology (high-risk or benign) or follow-up. False-negative lesions were negative on imaging (NBCC < 3 or not identified) but positive on pathology.
RESULTS: The 59 women had 68 biopsy-proven malignant lesions detected on mammography/ultrasound, of which MRI demonstrated 66 (97%) and CEM 67 (99%) (p = 1.000). Forty-one additional lesions were detected in 29 patients: six of 41 (15%) on CEM only, 23/41 (56%) on MRI only, 12/41 (29%) on both; CEM detected 1/6 and MRI 6/6 malignant additional lesions (p = 0.063), with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 1/13 (8%) and 6/26 (23%) (p = 0.276).
CONCLUSIONS: While MRI and CEM were both highly sensitive for lesions detected at mammography/ultrasound, CEM may not be as sensitive as MRI in detecting additional otherwise occult foci of malignancy.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN 12613000684729.