Journal club: molecular breast imaging at reduced radiation dose for supplemental screening in mammographically dense breasts

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2015 Feb;204(2):241-51. doi: 10.2214/AJR.14.13357.


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to assess the diagnostic performance of supplemental screening molecular breast imaging (MBI) in women with mammographically dense breasts after system modifications to permit radiation dose reduction. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. A total of 1651 asymptomatic women with mammographically dense breasts on prior mammography underwent screening mammography and adjunct MBI performed with 300-MBq (99m)Tc-sestamibi and a direct-conversion (cadmium zinc telluride) gamma camera, both interpreted independently. The cancer detection rate, sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value of biopsies performed (PPV3) were determined. RESULTS. In 1585 participants with a complete reference standard, 21 were diagnosed with cancer: two detected by mammography only, 14 by MBI only, three by both modalities, and two by neither. Of 14 participants with cancers detected only by MBI, 11 had invasive disease (median size, 0.9 cm; range, 0.5-4.1 cm). Nine of 11 (82%) were node negative, and two had bilateral cancers. With the addition of MBI to mammography, the overall cancer detection rate (per 1000 screened) increased from 3.2 to 12.0 (p < 0.001) (supplemental yield 8.8). The invasive cancer detection rate increased from 1.9 to 8.8 (p < 0.001) (supplemental yield 6.9), a relative increase of 363%, while the change in DCIS detection was not statistically significant (from 1.3 to 3.2, p =0.250). For mammography alone, sensitivity was 24%; specificity, 89%; and PPV3, 25%. For the combination, sensitivity was 91% (p < 0.001); specificity, 83% (p < 0.001); and PPV3, 28% (p = 0.70). The recall rate increased from 11.0% with mammography alone to 17.6% (p < 0.001) for the combination; the biopsy rate increased from 1.3% for mammography alone to 4.2% (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION. When added to screening mammography, MBI performed using a radiopharmaceutical activity acceptable for screening (effective dose 2.4 mSv) yielded a supplemental cancer detection rate of 8.8 per 1000 women with mammographically dense breasts.

Keywords: 99mTc-sestamibi; breast cancer; mammographic density; molecular breast imaging; supplemental screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Imaging*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiation Dosage