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Comparison of breast cancer detection by diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and mammography

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Breast cancer-detecting ability of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) was investigated by comparing the breast cancer detection rates of DW-MRI and mammography (MMG).

Materials and methods

The subjects were 48 women who had breast cancer (53 cancer lesions) who underwent DW-MRI before surgery. Altogether, 41 lesions were invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), 7 were noninvasive ductal carcinoma (NIDC) and 5 were “others.”


The breast cancer detection rates by MMG and DW-MRI were 84.9% and 94.3% (P < 0.001), respectively. In each classification of histology and size, the detection rate by DW-MRI was higher than that by MMG. In relation to the mammary gland density, the detection rates of fatty, scattered, heterogeneously dense, and extremely dense mammary glands were 100%, 100%, 92.0%, and 83.3%, respectively. The mean apparent diffusion coefficient values of the histologic types were 1.07 ± 0.17 × 10−3, 1.50 ± 0.24 × 10−3, 1.12 ± 0.25 × 10−3, and 2.01 ± 0.29 × 10−3 mm2/s for IDC, NIDC, others, and normal breast, respectively, showing that the values of IDC and NIDC were significantly different from that of the normal breast (P < 0.001 each). A significant difference was also noted between IDC and NIDC (P < 0.001).


DW-MRI may be useful for detecting breast cancer in a wide age group of women, including young women with dense mammary glands.

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Correspondence to Miho I. Yoshikawa.

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Yoshikawa, M., Ohsumi, S., Sugata, S. et al. Comparison of breast cancer detection by diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and mammography. Radiat Med 25, 218–223 (2007).

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