Background parenchymal uptake during molecular breast imaging and associated clinical factors

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2015 Mar;204(3):W363-70. doi: 10.2214/AJR.14.12979.


OBJECTIVE. The purposes of this study were to describe the prevalence of background parenchymal uptake categories observed at screening molecular breast imaging (MBI) and to examine the association of background parenchymal uptake with mammographic density and other clinical factors. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Adjunct MBI screening was performed for women with dense breasts on previous mammograms. Two radiologists reviewed images from the MBI examinations and subjectively categorized background parenchymal uptake into four groups: photopenic, minimal-mild, moderate, or marked. Women with breast implants or a personal history of breast cancer were excluded. The association between background parenchymal uptake categories and patient characteristics was examined with Kruskal-Wallis and chi-square tests as appropriate. RESULTS. In 1149 eligible participants, background parenchymal uptake was photopenic in 252 (22%), minimal-mild in 728 (63%), and moderate or marked in 169 (15%). The distribution of categories differed across BI-RADS density categories (p < 0.0001). In 164 participants with extremely dense breasts, background parenchymal uptake was photopenic in 72 (44%), minimal-mild in 55 (34%), and moderate or marked in 37 (22%). The moderate-marked group was younger on average, more likely to be premenopausal or perimenopausal, and more likely to be using postmenopausal hormone therapy than the photopenic or minimal-mild groups (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSION. Among women with similar-appearing mammographic density, background parenchymal uptake ranged from photopenic to marked. Background parenchymal uptake was associated with menopausal status and postmenopausal hormone therapy but not with premenopausal hormonal contraceptives, phase of menstrual cycle, or Gail model 5-year risk of breast cancer. Additional work is necessary to fully characterize the underlying cause of background parenchymal uptake and determine its utility in predicting subsequent risk of breast cancer.

Keywords: MRI; breast density; hormone therapy; menstrual cycle; molecular breast imaging.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Breast Density
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammary Glands, Human / abnormalities*
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Imaging*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Retrospective Studies