Abbreviated breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): first postcontrast subtracted images and maximum-intensity projection-a novel approach to breast cancer screening with MRI

J Clin Oncol. 2014 Aug 1;32(22):2304-10. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2013.52.5386. Epub 2014 Jun 23.


Purpose: We investigated whether an abbreviated protocol (AP), consisting of only one pre- and one postcontrast acquisition and their derived images (first postcontrast subtracted [FAST] and maximum-intensity projection [MIP] images), was suitable for breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screening.

Methods: We conducted a prospective observational reader study in 443 women at mildly to moderately increased risk who underwent 606 screening MRIs. Eligible women had normal or benign digital mammograms and, for those with heterogeneously dense or extremely dense breasts (n = 427), normal or benign ultrasounds. Expert radiologists reviewed the MIP image first to search for significant enhancement and then reviewed the complete AP (consisting of MIP and FAST images and optionally their nonsubtracted source images) to characterize enhancement and establish a diagnosis. Only thereafter was the regular full diagnostic protocol (FDP) analyzed.

Results: MRI acquisition time for FDP was 17 minutes, versus 3 minutes for the AP. Average time to read the single MIP and complete AP was 2.8 and 28 seconds, respectively. Eleven breast cancers (four ductal carcinomas in situ and seven invasive cancers; all T1N0 intermediate or high grade) were diagnosed, for an additional cancer yield of 18.2 per 1,000. MIP readings were positive in 10 (90.9%) of 11 cancers and allowed establishment of the absence of breast cancer, with a negative predictive value (NPV) of 99.8% (418 of 419). Interpretation of the complete AP, as with the FDP, allowed diagnosis of all cancers (11 [100%] of 11). Specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) of AP versus FDP were equivalent (94.3% v 93.9% and 24.4% v 23.4%, respectively).

Conclusion: An MRI acquisition time of 3 minutes and an expert radiologist MIP image reading time of 3 seconds are sufficient to establish the absence of breast cancer, with an NPV of 99.8%. With a reading time < 30 seconds for the complete AP, diagnostic accuracy was equivalent to that of the FDP and resulted in an additional cancer yield of 18.2 per 1,000.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies