MRI for diagnosis of pure ductal carcinoma in situ: a prospective observational study

Lancet. 2007 Aug 11;370(9586):485-92. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61232-X.


Background: Diagnosing breast cancer in its intraductal stage might be helpful to prevent the development of invasive cancer. Our aim was to investigate the sensitivity with which ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is diagnosed by mammography and by breast MRI.

Methods: During a 5-year period, 7319 women who were referred to an academic national breast centre received MRI in addition to mammography for diagnostic assessment and screening. Mammograms and breast MRI studies were assessed independently by different radiologists. We investigated the sensitivity of each method of detection and compared the biological profiles of mammography-diagnosed DCIS versus DCIS detected by MRI alone. We also compared the risk profiles of women with mammography-detected DCIS with those of MRI-detected DCIS.

Findings: 193 women received a final surgical pathology diagnosis of pure DCIS. Of those, 167 had undergone both imaging tests preoperatively. 93 (56%) of these cases were diagnosed by mammography and 153 (92%) by MRI (p<0.0001). Of the 89 high-grade DCIS, 43 (48%) were missed by mammography, but diagnosed by MRI alone; all 43 cases missed by mammography were detected by MRI. By contrast, MRI detected 87 (98%) of these lesions; the two cases missed by MRI were detected by mammography. Age, menopausal status, personal or family history of breast cancer or of benign breast disease, and breast density of women with MRI-only diagnosed DCIS did not differ significantly from those of women with mammography-diagnosed DCIS.

Interpretation: MRI could help improve the ability to diagnose DCIS, especially DCIS with high nuclear grade.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / pathology
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Mammography
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity