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IMAGE: Two-dimensional sections of a three-dimensional acquisition of images of a malignant tumor. Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) with b values of (a) 0, (b) 100, (c) 750, and (d) 1500 sec/mm2…. view more 

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OAK BROOK, Ill. – An MRI breast imaging technique that requires no contrast agent, combined with sophisticated data analysis, could reduce the number of unnecessary breast biopsies, according to a new study appearing online in the journal Radiology.

Breast MRI currently is used to screen women at high risk of breast cancer and as a diagnostic adjunct to mammography. The examination relies on gadolinium-based contrast agents that need to be injected intravenously.

Researchers recently studied an alternative approach that eliminates the need for contrast agents in some cases by using diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) measurements derived from MRI. The technique, known as diffusion kurtosis imaging, provides a picture of breast tissue on a microstructural level.

“Diffusion kurtosis imaging has been introduced in DWI to provide important information on tissue structures at a microscopic level,” said study lead author Sebastian Bickelhaupt, M.D., from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany. “Since malignant lesions disrupt the tissue structures at this level, diffusion kurtosis might serve as a relevant marker

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