Intensive Surveillance with Biannual Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging Downstages Breast Cancer in BRCA1 Mutation Carriers

Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Mar 15;25(6):1786-1794. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-0200. Epub 2018 Aug 28.


Purpose: To establish a cohort of high-risk women undergoing intensive surveillance for breast cancer.Experimental Design: We performed dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI every 6 months in conjunction with annual mammography (MG). Eligible participants had a cumulative lifetime breast cancer risk ≥20% and/or tested positive for a pathogenic mutation in a known breast cancer susceptibility gene.

Results: Between 2004 and 2016, we prospectively enrolled 295 women, including 157 mutation carriers (75 BRCA1, 61 BRCA2); participants' mean age at entry was 43.3 years. Seventeen cancers were later diagnosed: 4 ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and 13 early-stage invasive breast cancers. Fifteen cancers occurred in mutation carriers (11 BRCA1, 3 BRCA2, 1 CDH1). Median size of the invasive cancers was 0.61 cm. No patients had lymph node metastasis at time of diagnosis, and no interval invasive cancers occurred. The sensitivity of biannual MRI alone was 88.2% and annual MG plus biannual MRI was 94.1%. The cancer detection rate of biannual MRI alone was 0.7% per 100 screening episodes, which is similar to the cancer detection rate of 0.7% per 100 screening episodes for annual MG plus biannual MRI. The number of recalls and biopsies needed to detect one cancer by biannual MRI were 2.8 and 1.7 in BRCA1 carriers, 12.0 and 8.0 in BRCA2 carriers, and 11.7 and 5.0 in non-BRCA1/2 carriers, respectively.

Conclusions: Biannual MRI performed well for early detection of invasive breast cancer in genomically stratified high-risk women. No benefit was associated with annual MG screening plus biannual MRI screening.See related commentary by Kuhl and Schrading, p. 1693.

Trial registration: NCT00989638.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • Biopsy
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Mammography
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prospective Studies


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA1 protein, human

Associated data