Molecular Breast Imaging Identifies Occult Cancer

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) is shown to be an effective method of identifying mammographically and clinically occult (hidden) breast cancer. BSGI is a molecular breast imaging technique that can see lesions independent of tissue density and discover very early stage cancers.

According to findings presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in this study of women where breast cancer was already suspected via mammogram or physical exam, BSGI identified additional suspicious lesions in 29 percent of the patients and found a previously unsuspected cancer in 9 percent of women.

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"BSGI is an emerging technology that goes beyond mammography as an effective imaging procedure for early breast cancer detection," said Dr. Rachel Brem, Director of Breast Imaging and Intervention at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and Vice Chair of the Department of Radiology.

In this study, a retrospective review was performed on the records of all patients who had BSGI examinations over a three-year period. Among these, 159 women who had only one suspicious or cancerous breast lesion on a physical exam and/or mammography, underwent BSGI to evaluate additional cancerous lesions in the breasts, and were proven by pathology to have one or more areas of breast cancer.

BSGI detected an additional suspicious lesion, previously undetectable by mammogram and physical exam, in 46 women (29 percent). BSGI identified clinically and mammographically hidden cancer in 15 of 39 women who had a biopsy or prophylactic excision due to BSGI findings (36 percent) and in 15 women who underwent BSGI in this study (9 percent), including nine women in whom the hidden cancer was present in the same breast as the indicated lesion (6 percent) and six women in whom the undetectable cancer was found in the opposite breast (3 percent).

BSGI for the study was conducted using a Dilon 6800 Gamma Camera, a high- resolution, small field-of-view gamma camera, optimized to perform breast imaging. Dr. Brem and colleagues have published numerous articles on breast cancer-related topics including new technologies for the early diagnosis of breast cancer and BSGI.

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