Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


MRI Finds Tumors in Second Breast of Women Diagnosed with Cancer in One Breast

Postmenopausal women, including those over 70 years old, who have been newly diagnosed with cancer in one breast have higher cancer detection rates when the other breast is scanned for tumors with MRI, compared to premenopausal women, say researchers at the Mayo Clinic campus in Florida.

They found that 3.8 percent of 425 women had breast cancer in the undiagnosed breast that had not been found with a clinical or mammographic examination; all were postmenopausal. In these women, detecting and treating cancer in both breasts at the same time may save costs, patient stress, and the potential toxicity that may come from having to treat cancer later in the second breast once it is discovered, the researchers say in the March/April issue of The Breast Journal.

Of particular interest to the researchers is their finding that patients 70 and older had a higher prevalence of cancer detected in the second breast by MRI than did younger patients in the study. MRI detected a cancer in the second breast in 5.4 percent of 129 elderly women included in the study.

"Our findings are not really surprising because we know that the risk of breast cancer increases as age increases," says the study's lead investigator, Johnny Ray Bernard Jr., M.D., a Radiation Oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. "Elderly women in good health potentially benefit from earlier detection, and we believe that screening of the undiagnosed breast with MRI should be considered in all postmenopausal women diagnosed with a breast cancer."

Since 2003, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville has offered MRI imaging of both breasts in women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. In this study, Mayo researchers retrospectively reviewed the records of 425 women who underwent bilateral breast MRI between 2003 and 2007. The goal was to determine the prevalence of "contralateral" cancer detected by MRI, but not found by mammogram or clinical breast exams. Contralateral refers to the opposite breast where cancer was not diagnosed.

They concluded that postmenopausal status was the only statistically significant predictor of contralateral cancer detected by MRI. In 72 of the 425 women, MRI detected a suspicious lesion. A follow-up biopsy showed that 16 (22 percent) of the 72 women had contralateral breast cancer (stage 0-1) that had not been detected with typical screening methods. Of the 16 women diagnosed with a contralateral cancer, seven were 70 or older.

The researchers undertook the study, they say, because to their knowledge, no published studies in the medical literature that have examined the use of MRI to screen contralateral breasts in women diagnosed with breast cancer have included an analysis of women 70 and older.

It makes sense to look at women of this age, they say. Studies have shown that MRI of the breast has a higher cancer detection rate than clinical breast examination and mammography alone in women at high risk for developing breast cancer, according to Dr. Bernard. He added that women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer are at 2-to-6 times increased risk for developing a secondary, contralateral breast cancer, compared to women at average risk. "So the combination of older age and a personal breast cancer history possibly makes women aged 70 years or older with newly diagnosed breast cancer at even higher risk for developing a contralateral breast cancer," he says.

Dr. Bernard acknowledges that the routine use of breast MRI in all patients with a history of breast cancer at initial diagnosis is controversial, as is its use in elderly patients. But he says the findings from this study may help clarify the debate because it suggests that postmenopausal patients have the highest prevalence of contralateral breast cancer identified only by MRI, and not by mammogram or physical examination. "This could impact health care costs by limiting screening MRI to those groups likely to have higher detection rates, such as postmenopausal women in our study, and also could reduce costs by having both cancers treated at the same time instead of undergoing potentially toxic and expensive treatments twice — that is, once the contralateral cancer is finally detected by mammogram or physical exam," Dr. Bernard says.

The researchers also say there should be no age cutoff in use of MRI in these breast cancer patients. "We do feel that life span is underestimated in this older age group," he says.

No funding was provided for this study.

About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy of "the needs of the patient come first." More than 3,700 physicians, scientists and researchers, and 50,100 allied health staff work at Mayo Clinic, which has campuses in Rochester, Minn; Jacksonville, Fla; and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz.; and community-based providers in more than 70 locations in southern Minnesota., western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa. These locations treat more than half a million people each year. To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to For information about research and education, visit ( is available as a resource for your health stories.

Kevin Punsky | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Gentle sensors for diagnosing brain disorders
29.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

nachricht New imaging technique in Alzheimer’s disease - opens up possibilities for new drug development
28.09.2016 | Lund University

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>