Molecular Breast Imaging an Option for Early Detection in High-risk Women


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These results indicate that molecular breast imaging/breast-specific gamma imaging could be a good option for this [high-risk] population.

—Rachel Brem, MD

Molecular breast imaging, also known as breast-specific gamma imaging, was a key topic of discussion at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting, held recently in Chicago. Molecular breast imaging can detect breast cancer missed by mammography, according to clinical data presented by Rachel Brem, MD, Director of Breast Imaging and Vice Chair of Radiology at George Washington University Medical Center.

In a study presented by Dr. Brem, 364 high-risk patients who had a recent, negative mammogram underwent molecular breast imaging. In this group, molecular breast imaging detected breast cancer in nine patients. All cancers were in women with dense breasts.

“We have long recognized that patients at high-risk for breast malignancy would likely benefit from additional imaging beyond the mammogram,” Dr. Brem said. “These results indicate that molecular breast imaging/breast-specific gamma imaging could be a good option for this population.”

Breast cancer was found in 2.5% of these patients with a recent, negative mammogram. “That’s pretty impressive,” Dr. Brem said. She added, “Although breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is another option, in our practice we find that many patients are unable to have an MRI, such as those with pacemakers or claustrophobia. For others, the cost of an MRI study is simply out of reach.”

The researchers concluded that the molecular breast imaging/breast-specific gamma imaging procedure provides a low-cost, well tolerated exam that is capable of filling the need for the high-risk group, especially for women who have dense breasts. ■

Disclosure:Dr. Brem is on the Board of Directors, iCAD and Dilon Technologies LLC; Stock options, iCAD, Inc. Stockholder, Dilon Technologies LLC; Consultant, U-Systems, inc. Consultant, Dilon Technologies and Dune Medical Devices. 



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