When is MRI indicated for the diagnosis of breast cancer?

Updated: Feb 04, 2021
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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The high cost and limited availability of MRI, as well as the difficulties inherent in performing and interpreting the studies with high false-positive rates, necessitate that the use of this modality be carefully considered before it is recommended in a patient. The following are current indications for MRI:

  • Characterization of an indeterminate lesion after a full assessment with physical examination, mammography, and ultrasonography

  • Detection of occult breast carcinoma in a patient with carcinoma in an axillary lymph node

  • Evaluation of suspected multifocal or bilateral tumor

  • Evaluation of invasive lobular carcinoma, which has a high incidence of multifocality

  • Evaluation of suspected extensive high-grade intraductal carcinoma

  • Detection of occult primary breast carcinoma in the presence of metastatic adenocarcinoma of unknown origin

  • Monitoring of the response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy

  • Detection of recurrent breast cancer

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