Contrast-enhanced breast MRI: factors affecting sensitivity and specificity
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Contrast-enhanced MRI (CE-MRI) of the breast has been investigated for over 10 years. The reports of sensitivity for cancer detection have generally been greater than 90 %. However, estimates of specificity have varied greatly. Differing results are due to differences in study populations, technical methods and criteria for interpretation. Early and marked signal rise, detected using dynamic imaging technique following contrast administration, is the MRI hallmark of cancer. However, some malignant lesions may enhance slowly or minimally, and a variety of benign lesions may enhance rapidly with marked signal intensity. High resolution techniques generally requiring longer acquisition times are more likely to depict the slowly enhancing malignancies at the cost of a decrease in specificity due to lack of temporal resolution. This disadvantage may be offset by the improved visualization of lesion morphology with high resolution images. This report reviews the methods and results of the leading investigators of breast MRI.