Magnetic resonance imaging can accurately identify breast tumors missed by conventional mammography, according to a study comparing the two screening methods in women at high risk for the disease. The results of the International Breast Magnetic Resonance Consortium Trial were presented at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting. The study encompassed 367 women with a least a 25% lifetime risk of breast cancer, each of whom underwent MRI, mammography and clinical breast examination. MRI detected cancers at a rate of 11 per 1,000 compared with three per 1,000 for mammography. The researchers said the study adds to a growing body of evidence supporting the benefit of MRI as a screening tool for high-risk women.
In other RSNA news, Mayo Clinic researchers said virtual colonoscopy, a nascent imaging tool for colon cancer screening, also may provide data useful for determining heart attack risk. A review of records for 480 patients who received virtual colonoscopy from 1995 to 1998 found a direct correlation between high aortic calcium scores and subsequent heart attacks. Follow-up studies are needed, but the study indicates that the computed tomography screening may provide a rich source of data for physicians, said Jesse Davila, a fellow in musculoskeletal radiology at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. -- by Cinda Becker