Study Finds Better Screening for High-Risk Breast Cancer

Latest research from a University of Chicago team found that dynamic contrast-enhanced MRIs (DCE-MRIs) were much better in early detection of breast cancer than annual mammograms for patients with high-risk genetic mutations.

This means that finding early lesions in those with high-risk genetic profiles are critical for improving the outcomes of breast cancer. Furthermore, the study proved that even aggressive breast cancers can be detected early, without using excessive biopsies.

The ultimate goal of this study was to better understand the needs of high-risk women, so it enrolled women who had mutations in genes related to breast cancer, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2. These genetic mutations mean patients have about five times the normal risk for developing breast cancer. To learn more about BRCA-mutated breast cancer in particular, click here.

Participants underwent a thorough clinical breast examination and DCE-MRI semiannually. Furthermore, they received a digital mammogram screening every year. The DCE-MRI scans were particularly beneficial for these high-risk women, detecting node-negative, invasive tumors that were less than 1 centimeter.

Overall, this finding probably means that mammograms can be eliminated from screening for the highest-risk patients, to provide a more personalized diagnostic approach. BRCA mutations require different surveillance than normal genes, and the intensity of DCE-MRIs fit the profile much better.
If you are at high risk for developing breast cancer, The American Cancer Society recommends starting DCE-MRIs at age 30.

To learn more about this study, please click here.

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