Breast tumors: comparative accuracy of MR imaging relative to mammography and US for demonstrating extent

Radiology. 1995 Dec;197(3):743-7. doi: 10.1148/radiology.197.3.7480749.


Purpose: To evaluate the comparative accuracy of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging relative to mammography and ultrasonography (US) for assessing the extent of breast tumors.

Materials and methods: Histologic results and preoperative imaging findings (mammography, US, MR imaging) were analyzed regarding tumor size and multifocality of 61 tumors in 60 women undergoing mastectomy for carcinoma.

Results: In 10% of cases, the index tumor was not seen at mammography. With US, 15% of the index tumors were not recognized, while MR imaging missed 2% of the index tumors. On mammographic and US images, tumor size was underestimated significantly (P < .005), by 14% and 18%, respectively, while MR imaging showed no significant difference in size compared with that found in a pathologic evaluation. Mammography showed 31% of the additional invasive lesions, while US showed 38% and MR imaging showed 100%.

Conclusion: MR imaging was the most accurate of the three preoperative imaging modalities in assessing the size and number of malignant lesions in the breast.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Contrast Media
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Gadolinium
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / statistics & numerical data
  • Mammography* / statistics & numerical data
  • Mastectomy
  • Meglumine
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Pentetic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Preoperative Care
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary* / statistics & numerical data


  • Contrast Media
  • Drug Combinations
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Meglumine
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Gadolinium
  • Gadolinium DTPA