Breast cancers detected with imaging screening in the BRCA population: emphasis on MR imaging with histopathologic correlation

Radiographics. 2007 Oct:27 Suppl 1:S165-82. doi: 10.1148/rg.27si075503.


The benefit of screening with breast magnetic resonance (MR) imaging for certain patient populations at high risk for breast cancer, most notably patients with a genetic mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, has been established in numerous studies and is now becoming part of routine clinical practice. Despite the lower sensitivity of mammography compared with that of MR imaging, the former remains the standard of care for screening any patient population. In the BRCA1 and BRCA2 populations, the inferior sensitivity and specificity of ultrasonography (US) limit its role as a screening tool, but US remains a vital diagnostic tool because of its ability to provide guidance for biopsy of many suspicious lesions detected with MR imaging. Important features of a screening program with breast MR imaging include the following: optimization of the MR imaging technique, an awareness of the imaging features of invasive and noninvasive breast cancers detected with MR imaging, an understanding of the limitations of the various imaging modalities in both the initial screening and subsequent diagnostic work-up evaluations, and the requirement for MR imaging-guided biopsy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1*
  • Genes, BRCA2*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Radiography