MR imaging of the breast in patients with invasive lobular carcinoma

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2001 Feb;176(2):399-406. doi: 10.2214/ajr.176.2.1760399.


Objective: Our objective was to assess the usefulness of MR imaging in patients diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast.

Materials and methods: Between July 1993 and September 1999, 32 women (33 cases) diagnosed with pure invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast underwent contrast-enhanced MR imaging examination. One woman was excluded because of lack of follow-up. Correlation was made between the mammographic and sonographic findings, the MR imaging findings, and the final pathology results for the remaining 32 cases.

Results: In 18 women who did not undergo excisional biopsy before the MR imaging, MR imaging showed more extensive tumor burden or the detection of the primary lesion that was occult on conventional imaging in seven (38.9%) of 18 women. In nine (50%) of 18 women, MR imaging performed equally as well as mammography and sonography. In one case (5.6%), MR imaging and mammography underestimated disease extent. In another patient (5.6%), MR imaging overestimated tumor burden, although mammography failed to show the cancer. In 14 patients who had excisional biopsy before the MR imaging, residual tumor was shown in eight women (57.1%) with extensive tumor or additional separate foci in five of the eight patients. In two cases (14.3%) that were interpreted as equivocal, residual tumor was shown in both cases on reexcision. In three cases (21.4%), the MR imaging was interpreted as negative, but microscopic tumor was shown around seroma on reexcision. False-positive enhancement was seen in one case (7.1%).

Conclusion: MR imaging showed more extensive tumor than conventional imaging and affected the clinical management in 16 (50%) of 32 patients with invasive lobular carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / pathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Mammography
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Ultrasonography