MR Elastography of the Breast: Evolution of Technique, Case Examples, and Future Directions

Bhavika K. Patel, Naziya Samreen, Yuxiang Zhou, Jun Chen, Kathy Brandt, Richard Ehman, Kay Pepin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Recognizing that breast cancers present as firm, stiff lesions, the foundation of breast magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is to combine tissue stiffness parameters with sensitive breast MR contrast-enhanced imaging. Breast MRE is a non-ionizing, cross-sectional MR imaging technique that provides for quantitative viscoelastic properties, including tissue stiffness, elasticity, and viscosity, of breast tissues. Currently, the technique continues to evolve as research surrounding the use of MRE in breast tissue is still developing. In the setting of a newly diagnosed cancer, associated desmoplasia, stiffening of the surrounding stroma, and necrosis are known to be prognostic factors that can add diagnostic information to patient treatment algorithms. In fact, mechanical properties of the tissue might also influence breast cancer risk. For these reasons, exploration of breast MRE has great clinical value. In this review, we will: (1) address the evolution of the various MRE techniques; (2) provide a brief overview of the current clinical studies in breast MRE with interspersed case examples; and (3) suggest directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e102-e111
JournalClinical breast cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Breast MR imaging
  • Breast elasticity
  • Breast imaging
  • Breast tissue stiffness
  • Breast viscosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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