Molecular Breast Imaging: Early Breast Cancer Detection Test

Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI)

Molecular Breast Imaging: Potential New Tool for Detecting Cancers

Source: Oxford Journals

Mammography may be a “gold standard” for breast cancer screening, but for some women, its interpretation amounts to little more than a coin flip. In women with dense breasts, which contain more stromal and epithelial tissues than fat, interpretation of mammograms is difficult. Among these women, tumor detection rates with mammography barely exceed 60%. Both tumors and breast tissues appear white on a mammogram, but fat looks black. Clinicians can easily detect cancerous lesions against the darker fat backdrop, whereas dense tissues obscure tumors that could be life threatening.

Now researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., say that a different screening method— molecular breast imaging (MBI)— may offer a promising alternative for women with dense breasts, who make up much of the female population. Deborah Rhodes, M.D., an assistant professor at the Mayo Clinic, said roughly a quarter of all women older than 40 years have breast tissue that is more than 50% mammographically dense.

Compared with mammography, she said, MBI detected three times as many cancers among a population of 940 dense-breasted women who also had at least one additional breast cancer risk factor, such as a family history of the disease. These preliminary findings, announced in September at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 2008 Breast Cancer Symposium in Washington, D.C., came from an ongoing, comparative study of MBI and mammography that was launched at the Mayo Clinic in 2005. “We’re talking about a supplement to mammography that could be readily adopted by communities, instead of just major academic institutions,” said Rhodes, who is also the study’s principal investigator. “While [mammography is] terrific for some women, it doesn’t work well for others. For them, we need a better test, and that’s what MBI could provide.”
Read more at Oxford Journals


Note: Molecular Breast Imaging is a new technology, so it isn’t yet widely available.


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