MRI For Detection of Breast Cancer During Lactation

MRI for evaluation of breast masses in lactating women.

MRI may aid in evaluation of breast cancer diagnosed during lactation and assessment of therapeutic response, according to a study published in the British Journal of Radiology.

Researchers from Korea performed a small retrospective study to identify MR imaging characteristics of breast cancer among women who were diagnosed during lactation.

Nine patients, aged 29 to 37, participated in the study. All had pathologically confirmed breast carcinoma during lactation and had undergone MR imaging. Their breast MR images after neoadjuvant chemotherapy were also reviewed.

The researchers looked at:

• Evaluation of lesion detection

• Enhancement type (mass/non-mass)

• Shape

• Margin

• Contrast enhancement

• Time–intensity curve pattern in the dynamic study

Background parenchymal enhancement of the lactating mammary tissue was determined.

The results showed that seven breasts showed marked background parenchymal enhancement and two showed moderate background parenchymal enhancement, but MR imaging depicted breast cancer in all patients. All nine tumors were visible as masses.

Five masses had an irregular mass and nine an irregular margin. Contrast enhancement was heterogeneous or rim enhancement. Nine masses had predominant kinetic pattern with rapid increase in the initial phase and five with washout in the delayed phase. Three patients (33.3%) were found to have additional sites of cancer other than the index lesion. MR imaging demonstrated partial response in five of six patients who were evaluated for response to chemotherapy.

The researchers concluded that all breast cancers in lactating females in this study were observed on breast MR imaging despite the moderate-to-marked background parenchymal enhancement of lactating mammary tissue.