Use Screening MRI for Women with History of Breast Cancer

February 3, 2014

Screening breast MRIs should be considered for women with a personal history of breast cancer.

Women who have had breast cancer are at risk for subsequent breast cancers and should be screened by MRI, according to a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Researchers from the United States and Japan undertook a retrospective review of screening breast MRIs to assess the importance of a personal history of breast cancer as a risk factor for patients who were referred for screening breast MRI.

The study involved reviewing MR images of 702 patients that were performed from 2004 to 2012. A total of 465 patients underwent annual MRI and 237 had one every six months as part of a research protocol.

The researchers found that of the patients screened, 208 had a personal history of breast cancer and 345 had a family history of breast cancer as the sole risk factor. Ninety-seven patients had both risk factors. The absolute risk for detection of breast cancer at screening MRI was 2.8 percent among patients with a personal history of cancer, and 2.0 percent for patients with a strong family history of cancer.

“The relative risk for detection of breast cancer given a personal history was 1.42 compared with family history,” the authors wrote. “The relative risk when both risk factors were present compared with having only a family history was 3.04.”

The researchers concluded that a personal history of breast cancer was an important risk factor for the development of subsequent breast cancer and should be reason for patients in this group to undergo breast MRI screening.