Background: Inadequately treated multifocal and multicentric disease results in increased local recurrence following breast-conserving surgery. The accurate preoperative diagnosis of multifocal/centric breast cancer would facilitate the planning of appropriate surgery and prevent reoperation for residual disease. While triple assessment remains the established diagnostic technique, its sensitivity for the diagnosis of multifocal disease remains poor. Dynamic contrast enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DCE-MRI) of the breast represents an alternative emerging diagnostic modality that has been shown to be highly sensitive for the delineation of primary breast cancer. The aim of this study was to prospectively compare the diagnostic accuracy of DCE-MRI of the breast with conventional triple assessment for the preoperative diagnosis of multifocal/centric breast cancer.
Methods: Patients were recruited from the symptomatic breast clinics. All patients underwent standard triple assessment and DCE-MRI. The MRI scans were reported by a single radiologist blinded to the results of the triple assessment. Surgery was then planned accordingly to all available scan results and the specimens examined by a single pathologist. All patients who did not undergo surgery have been followed up for a minimum of 18 months.
Results: A total of 334 women were recruited. There were 178 (52%) cancers that were histologically confirmed and multifocal/centric breast cancer was diagnosed provisionally by the preoperative investigations in 68 (38%); multifocal n = 33, multicentric n = 35, of these patients. In this group, subsequent histology confirmed multifocal/centric disease in 50 (73.5%): multifocal n = 15, multicentric n = 35. Unifocal cancer was found in 15 (22%) and benign disease in 3 (4.4%). The resultant sensitivity, specificity, positive, and negative predictive values were 18%, 100%, 100%, and 76% for triple assessment and 100%, 86%, 73%, and 100% for DCE-MRI.
Conclusion: DCE-MRI identified a subgroup of breast cancer patients with multifocal/centric disease not evident on standard triple assessment. MRI of the breast should be considered for the preoperative planning of surgery for primary breast cancer.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging—Diagnostic accuracy Triple assessment Multifocal breast cancer