The potential of multiparametric MRI of the breast

Br J Radiol. 2017 Jan;90(1069):20160715. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20160715. Epub 2016 Nov 2.


MRI is an essential tool in breast imaging, with multiple established indications. Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) is the backbone of any breast MRI protocol and has an excellent sensitivity and good specificity for breast cancer diagnosis. DCE-MRI provides high-resolution morphological information, as well as some functional information about neoangiogenesis as a tumour-specific feature. To overcome limitations in specificity, several other functional MRI parameters have been investigated and the application of these combined parameters is defined as multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) of the breast. MpMRI of the breast can be performed at different field strengths (1.5-7 T) and includes both established (diffusion-weighted imaging, MR spectroscopic imaging) and novel MRI parameters (sodium imaging, chemical exchange saturation transfer imaging, blood oxygen level-dependent MRI), as well as hybrid imaging with positron emission tomography (PET)/MRI and different radiotracers. Available data suggest that multiparametric imaging using different functional MRI and PET parameters can provide detailed information about the underlying oncogenic processes of cancer development and progression and can provide additional specificity. This article will review the current and emerging functional parameters for mpMRI of the breast for improved diagnostic accuracy in breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Contrast Media
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Echo-Planar Imaging / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Multimodal Imaging / methods
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Contrast Media