Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a noninvasive malignancy that is commonly encountered at routine breast imaging. It may be a primary tumor or may be seen in association with other focal higher-grade tumors. Early detection is important because of the large proportion of DCIS that can progress to invasive carcinoma. The extent of DCIS involvement is frequently underestimated at mammography, which can reliably help detect only calcified DCIS; consequently, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging evaluation can alter the course of treatment. Seven biopsy-proved cases of DCIS were evaluated with T2-weighted MR imaging sequences, as well as T1-weighted sequences performed both before and after contrast material administration. The signal intensity and enhancement patterns of the tumors were analyzed, and the findings were correlated with the relevant underlying histopathologic features. Common enhancement patterns of DCIS include clumped linear-ductal enhancement, clumped focal enhancement, and masslike enhancement. The most common enhancement distribution pattern is segmental, followed by focal, diffuse, linear-ductal, and regional patterns. At T2-weighted MR imaging, DCIS is typically isointense relative to breast parenchyma; less commonly, it is hypointense or hyperintense. The use of MR imaging in the evaluation of DCIS is controversial, and many questions remain with regard to treatment and management. However, breast MR imaging can be extremely useful in the preoperative diagnosis and evaluation of DCIS when used in conjunction with other imaging modalities.
© RSNA, 2010.