High-risk breast lesions at imaging-guided needle biopsy: Usefulness of MRI for treatment decision

Viviana Londero, Chiara Zuiani, Anna Linda, Rossano Girometti, Massimo Bazzocchi, Francesco Sardanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the role of MRI for characterization of high-risk breast lesions diagnosed at imaging-guided needle biopsy. MATERIALS AND METHODS. In this retrospective analysis of 220 patients, 227 high-risk lesions (94 papillomas, 64 radial sclerosing lesions, 46 lobular neoplasias, and 23 atypical ductal hyperplasias) found at 11-gauge vacuum-assisted or 14-gauge needle biopsy were studied with dynamic MRI (time resolution, 84 or 88 seconds; gadopentetate dimeglumine or gadobenate dimeglumine, 0.1 mmol/kg). When lesions showed contrast enhancement on subtracted images, they were considered suspicious for malignancy. The reference standard was histopathologic examination after surgical excision in 190 of 227 (84%) lesions and negative follow-up (≥ 24 months) in 37 of 227 (16%) lesions. Predictive values and likelihood ratios were calculated. RESULTS. Of 227 lesions, 155 (68%) were contrast enhancing and 72 (32%) were not. Of 155 contrast-enhancing lesions, 28 (18%) were upgraded to malignancy after surgical excision (nine papillomas, one radial sclerosing lesion, 11 lobular neoplasias, and seven atypical ductal hyperplasias); there were 11 invasive carcinomas and 17 ductal carcinomas in situ, four of the latter being G3. Of 72 non-contrast-enhancing lesions, two (3%) were upgraded to malignancy after surgical excision (one radial sclerosing lesion and one lobular neoplasia), both of which were G1 ductal carcinoma in situ. Cancer probability was significantly higher for contrast-enhancing (18%) than for non-contrast-enhancing (3%) lesions (p = 0.001) and for nonmasslike (43%) than for masslike (14%) lesions (p = 0.005). The positive predictive value was 18% (28/155; 95% CI, 13-24%), the negative predictive value was 97% (70/72; 95% CI, 94-99%), the positive likelihood ratio was 1.448 (95% CI, 1.172-1.788), and the negative likelihood ratio was 0.188 (95% CI, 0.152-0.232). CONCLUSION. The absence of enhancement at dynamic MRI allowed reliable exclusion of invasive cancers among high-risk lesions diagnosed at needle biopsy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • Breast cancer
  • Contrast-enhanced MRI
  • Core needle biopsy
  • High-risk breast lesions
  • Vacuum-assisted biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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