Study offers updated guidelines on useof breast MR imaging

April 1, 2009

Surgical decisions should not be based solely on MRI findings because not all suspicious lesions on MRI are cancer, and suspicious lesions should be biopsied before a surgical plan is devised in order to avoid surgical overtreatment, according to guidelines published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Surgical decisions should not be based solely on MRI findings because not all suspicious lesions on MRI are cancer, and suspicious lesions should be biopsied before a surgical plan is devised in order to avoid surgical overtreatment, according to guidelines published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Among the recommendations is that MRI is not a substitute for screening or diagnostic mammography and, when indicated, diagnostic breast ultrasound, the guidelines state. But when cancer is found in the lymph nodes but not the breast, MRI can find the location of cancer in the breast in nearly 60% of women.

The guidelines were developed by Dr. Constance Lehman, a professor of radiology at the University of Washington and director of breast imaging at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and colleagues. They were based on an extensive review of published, peerreviewed studies.