MRI-guided vacuum-assisted breast biopsy: experience of a single tertiary referral cancer centre and prospects for the future

Silvia Penco, Anna Rotili, Filippo Pesapane, Chiara Trentin, Valeria Dominelli, Angela Faggian, Mariagiorgia Farina, Irene Marinucci, Anna Bozzini, Maria Pizzamiglio, Anna Maria Ierardi, Enrico Cassano

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MRI-guided vacuum-assisted breast biopsy (VABB) is used for suspicious breast cancer (BC) lesions which are detectable only with MRI: because the high sensitivity but limited specificity of breast MRI it is a fundamental tool in breast imaging divisions. We analyse our experience of MRI-guided VABB and critically discuss the potentialities of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and artificial intelligence (AI) in this matter. We retrospectively analysed a population of consecutive women underwent VABB at our tertiary referral BC centre from 01/2011 to 01/2019. Reference standard was histological diagnosis or at least 1-year negative follow-up. McNemar, Mann–Whitney and χ2 tests at 95% level of significance were used as statistical exams. 217 women (mean age = 52, 18–72 years) underwent MRI-guided VABB; 11 were excluded and 208 MRI-guided VABB lesions were performed: 34/208 invasive carcinomas, 32/208 DCIS, 8/208 LCIS, 3/208 high-risk lesions and 131/208 benign lesions were reported. Accuracy of MRI-guided VABB was 97%. The predictive features for malignancy were mass with irregular shape (OR 8.4; 95% CI 0.59–31.6), size of the lesion (OR 4.4; 95% CI 1.69–9.7) and mass with irregular/spiculated margins (OR 5.4; 95% CI 6.8–31.1). Six-month follow-up showed 4 false-negative cases (1.9%). Invasive BC showed a statistically significant higher hyperintense signal at DWI compared to benign lesions (p = 0.03). No major complications occurred. MR-guided VABB showed high accuracy. Benign-concordant lesions should be followed up with breast MRI in 6–12 months due to the risk of false-negative results. DWI and AI applications showed potential benefit as support tools for radiologists.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalMedical Oncology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2020


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Breast cancer
  • Breast imaging
  • Breast MRI
  • Diffusion-weighted imaging
  • Oncology
  • Radiology
  • Vacuum-assisted breast biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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