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PurposeTo review imaging features of screening-detected cancers on images from diagnostic and prior examinations to identify specific abnormalities to aid earlier detection of or facilitate differentiation of cancers in BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers and in women with a high risk for breast cancer.Materials and methodsInformed consent and multicenter and local research ethics committee approval were obtained. Women (mean age, 40.1 years; range, 27-55 years) who had at least a 50% risk of being a BRCA1, BRCA2, or TP53 gene mutation carrier were recruited from August 1997 to March 2003 into the United Kingdom Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Breast Screening Study Group trial and were offered annual magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and two-view mammography (total number of screenings, 2065 and 1973; mean, 2.38 and 2.36, respectively). Images in all 39 cancer cases were reread in consensus to document the morphologic and enhancement imaging features on MR and mammographic images in screening and prior examinations. Cases were grouped into genetic subtypes.ResultsWith MR imaging, there was no difference in morphologic or enhancement characteristics between the genetic subgroups. Cancers on images from prior examinations were of smaller size, showed less enhancement, and were more likely to have a type 1 enhancement curve compared with those cancers in the subsequent diagnostic screening examinations. The tumor sizes detected by using MR imaging and mammography were not significantly different (P = .46). The cancers in BRCA1 carriers found by using MR imaging tended to be smaller than those detected by using mammography (median, 17 mm vs 30 mm; P = .37), whereas the opposite was true for cancers found in BRCA2 carriers (MR imaging median size = 12.5 mm vs mammographic median size = 6 mm; P = .067); the difference was not significant. Tumors with prior MR imaging abnormalities grew at an average of 5.1 mm/y.ConclusionWhen undertaking MR imaging surveillance in high-risk women, small enhancing lesions should be regarded with suspicion and biopsied or patients should be followed up at 6 months.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date





358 - 368


Aberdeen Biomedical Imaging Centre, University of Aberdeen, Lilian Sutton Bldg, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD, Scotland.


United Kingdom Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Breast Screening (MARIBS) Study Group, Humans, Breast Neoplasms, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, BRCA1 Protein, BRCA2 Protein, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Mammography, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Heterozygote, Adult, Female, Tumor Suppressor Protein p53, Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins, United Kingdom