For women with genetic risk, twice-a-year MRI beats mammograms
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IMAGE: DCE-MRI every six months performed well for early detection of invasive breast cancer in genomically stratified high-risk women. view more 

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Credit: Fred Pineda, postdoctoral fellow, the University of Chicago Medicine

Getting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans twice a year instead of one annual mammogram is far more effective at detecting early breast cancers in young women with a high-risk genetic profile than mammograms alone, according to a research team based at the University of Chicago Medicine and the University of Washington, Seattle.

The results, first presented Dec. 8, 2017 at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium and now available online in Clinical Cancer Research, suggest that for women with high-risk genetic mutations, intensive efforts to find small early cancers can be crucial to improving outcomes.

“This study demonstrates for the first time that aggressive breast cancers can be caught early, without excessive recalls or biopsies,” said Olufunmilayo Olopade, MD, the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor and Associate Dean for Global Health at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Because of intensive surveillance and high-quality care, the majority of high-risk women in this study did not develop breast cancer, despite the fact that most of these women had genetic mutations such as BRCA1.

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