A comparison of MR imaging, galactography and ultrasonography in patients with nipple discharge

Breast Cancer. 2003;10(4):320-9. doi: 10.1007/BF02967652.


Background: The aim of this study is to assess the usefulness of three-dimensional contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, compared with galactography and ultrasonography(US).

Methods: Fifty-five patients with bloody nipple discharge were investigated retrospectively. All patients were examined by galactography, ultrasonography and MR imaging. These three sets of findings were compared with the histopathological results from 16 intraductal biopsies, 3 excisional biopsies, 24 microdochectomies and 12 mastectomies.

Results: Contrast enhanced MR imaging demonstrated all malignant lesions including ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Four cases of DCIS were not visualized by ultrasonography and three malignant lesions were missed by galactography. In the MR study, segmental clumped enhancement (positive predictive value =100 %), and focal mass with smooth border (negative predictive value =87.5 %) were the statistically significant predictive factors.

Conclusions: Among the three modalities, contrast-enhanced three-dimensional MR imaging demonstrated the location and distribution of the lesions most clearly, especially in cases of ductal carcinoma in situ. It has the potential to be a useful diagnostic tool for patients with nipple discharge.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Breast Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Diseases / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Mammography* / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Nipples / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nipples / metabolism
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary* / methods