Psychological impact of recall in high-risk breast MRI screening

  • Suzanne M. O’Neill
  • Wendy S. RubinsteinEmail author
  • Stephen F. Sener
  • Scott M. Weissman
  • Anna C. Newlin
  • Daniel K. West
  • David B. Ecanow
  • Alfred W. Rademaker
  • Robert R. Edelman
Clinical Trial


Purpose To address the widespread concern that false-positive results during breast MRI screening may have adverse psychological effects. Methods Impact of Event Scale measurements in 103 high-risk women enrolled in a longitudinal MRI screening study and comparison of subjects with normal results vs. those with prior recall events. Results Of 189 MRI scans performed, 64 (34%) prompted further evaluation. Subjects with previously abnormal results had significantly higher Avoidance scores at the time of their second MRI. Multivariate analysis showed this was driven by the greater number of BRCA1/2 carriers in that group but was not related to screening recall. Conclusions Practitioners’ concerns about the high false positive rate of breast MRI may not be matched by actual psychological effects in most high-risk women.


Psychological stress Breast neoplasms/genetics Magnetic resonance imaging/adverse effects Sensitivity and specificity BRCA1 genes BRCA2 genes 



Funding for this study was provided by the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Auxiliary Breast Ovarian Research Program. We also thank Sholanda King for assistance with scheduling and administrative help, Jennifer Beaumont for statistical support and Nan Rothrock for critical review of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne M. O’Neill
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wendy S. Rubinstein
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Stephen F. Sener
    • 3
  • Scott M. Weissman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anna C. Newlin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel K. West
    • 4
  • David B. Ecanow
    • 4
  • Alfred W. Rademaker
    • 5
  • Robert R. Edelman
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of MedicineNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Center for Medical GeneticsEvanston Northwestern HealthcareEvanstonUSA
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Department of Preventive MedicineNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA

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