A survey by the European Society of Breast Imaging on the utilisation of breast MRI in clinical practice

Eur Radiol. 2018 May;28(5):1909-1918. doi: 10.1007/s00330-017-5121-4. Epub 2017 Nov 22.


Objectives: While magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is considered a helpful diagnostic tool in breast imaging, discussions are ongoing about appropriate protocols and indications. The European Society of Breast Imaging (EUSOBI) launched a survey to evaluate the utilisation of breast MRI in clinical practice.

Methods: An online survey reviewed by the EUSOBI board and committees was distributed amongst members. The questions encompassed: training and experience; annual breast MRI and MRI-guided-intervention workload; examination protocols; indications; reporting habits and preferences. Data were summarised and subgroups compared using χ2 test.

Results: Of 647 EUSOBI members, 177 (27.4%) answered the survey. The majority were radiologists (90.5%), half of them based in academic centres (51.9%). Common indications for MRI included cancer staging, treatment monitoring, high-risk screening and problem-solving, and differed significantly between countries (p≤0.03). Structured reporting and BI-RADS were mostly used. Breast radiologists with ≤10 years of experience preferred inclusion of additional techniques, such as T2/STIR (p=0.03) and DWI (p=0.08) in the scan protocol. MRI-guided interventions were performed by a minority of participants (35.4%).

Conclusions: The utilisation of breast MRI in clinical practice is generally in line with international recommendations. There are substantial differences between countries. MRI-guided interventions and functional MRI parameters are not widely available.

Key points: • MRI is commonly used for the detection and characterisation of breast lesions. • Clinical practice standards are generally in line with current recommendations. • Standardised criteria and diagnostic categories (mainly BI-RADS) are widely adopted. • Younger radiologists value additional techniques, such as T2/STIR and DWI. • MRI-guided breast biopsy is not widely available.

Keywords: Breast; Magnetic resonance imaging; Practice Guideline; Radiologists; Survey and Questionnaires.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image-Guided Biopsy / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Societies, Medical*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*