Does magnetic resonance imaging accurately predict residual disease in breast cancer?

Chee Chee H. Stucky, Sarah A. McLaughlin, Amylou C. Dueck, Richard J. Gray, Marina E. Giurescu, Susanne G. Carpenter, Gwen M. Grimsby, Heidi A. Apsey, Barbara A. Pockaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: The accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in identifying residual disease after breast conservation therapy (BCT) is unclear. Method: Review of an institutional database identified patients with positive or close (≤2 mm) margins undergoing MRI before re-excision. Histopathologic correlation was performed. Results: Forty-three women underwent MRI after BCT. MRI suggested residual disease in 29 patients, of whom 20 (69%) had residual carcinoma pathologically. Nine patients had false-positive MRI as seen by benign pathology findings. Fourteen MRIs indicated no residual disease, of which 6 had residual disease pathologically. The sensitivity and positive predictive value of MRI was 77% and 69%, respectively. MRI conducted within 28 days of the original surgery was 85% sensitive. MRI performed after 28 days was 69% sensitive. Conclusions: MRI is able to detect residual disease among most patients undergoing re-excision. False-positive results may be caused by inflammatory processes that resemble residual disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-552
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Breast conservation therapy (BCT)
  • Invasive breast cancer
  • Positive margins
  • Residual disease
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • re-excision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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