European Radiology

, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 2261–2267

Does the degree of background enhancement in breast MRI affect the detection and staging of breast cancer?

  • Takayoshi Uematsu
  • Masako Kasami
  • Junichiro Watanabe

DOI: 10.1007/s00330-011-2175-6

Cite this article as:
Uematsu, T., Kasami, M. & Watanabe, J. Eur Radiol (2011) 21: 2261. doi:10.1007/s00330-011-2175-6



The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of background enhancement on the detection and staging of breast cancer using MRI as an adjunct to mammography or ultrasound.


One hundred forty-six bilateral breast MRI examinations were evaluated to assess the extent of a known primary tumour and to problem solve after mammography or ultrasound without adjusting for the phase in the patients’ menstrual cycle. The background enhancement was classified into four categories by visual evaluation: minimal, mild, moderate and marked.


In total, 131 histologically confirmed abnormal cases (104 malignant and 27 benign) and 15 normal cases were included in the analysis. There was no tumour size-related bias between the groups (p = 0.522). For the primary index tumour, the sensitivities of MRI with minimal/mild and moderate/marked background enhancement were 100% and 76% (p = 0.001), respectively. Thus, the degree of background enhancement did not affect the specificity. For evaluating tumour extent (n = 104), the accuracy of MRI with moderate/marked background enhancement (52%) was significantly lower than that with minimal/mild background enhancement (84%; p = 0.002).


The degree of background enhancement affected the detection and staging of breast cancer using MRI.


Breast Magnetic resonance imaging Background enhancement Local staging BI-RADS 

Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takayoshi Uematsu
    • 1
  • Masako Kasami
    • 2
  • Junichiro Watanabe
    • 3
  1. 1.Breast Imaging and Breast Intervention SectionShizuoka Cancer Center HospitalShizuokaJapan
  2. 2.Department of PathologyShizuoka Cancer Center HospitalNaga-izumiJapan
  3. 3.Division of Medical OncologyShizuoka Cancer Center HospitalNaga-izumiJapan

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