CAD system shows promise as adjunct to breast MRI

04/28/04

A new computer-aided breast MRI system may help radiologists interpret breast MRI and improve the differentiation of benign and malignant breast lesions, which could eventually reduce the number of women who are sent for a biopsy, preliminary results of a study suggest.

The study was led by Constance Lehman, MD, PhD, associate professor of radiology and director of breast imaging at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.

The study included 28 women with 33 lesions identified on MRI only, said Xiamong Chen, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Washington Medical Center. All of the lesions were biopsied under MRI guidance; nine were cancer. The CAD system analyzed the level of lesion enhancement after contrast media was injected into the patient. In six of the lesions, the CAD system didn't show much enhancement (there was less than a 50% increase in intensity) immediately after the contrast was injected. All six lesions were proven to be benign. "This suggests that we may be able to use the CAD system in conjunction with MRI to better identify which patients do not need to have a biopsy," said Dr. Chen. "It is important to note that this is a very small sample and further research should be done. However, if this--in a larger study--proves to be effective, then the biopsy rate could be reduced; it would be reduced by an estimated 18% for this studied group," said Dr. Chen.

Previous studies have shown that the enhancement profile or temporal patterns of enhancement (the level and way the contrast media highlights the lesion over time) could help differentiate benign from malignant lesions. However, this study observed otherwise, said Dr. Chen. "Our study showed no significant differences between enhancement profiles of the benign versus malignant lesions," she said. "It is important to note again that this is a very small sample, and further research needs to be done," she said.

Dr. Chen will present the study on May 4 at the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, FL.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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