JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Magnetic resonance imaging screening of the contralateral breast in women with newly diagnosed breast cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis of incremental cancer detection and impact on surgical management

Meagan Elizabeth Brennan, Nehmat Houssami, Sarah Lord, Petra Macaskill, Les Irwig, J Michael Dixon, Ruth M L Warren, Stefano Ciatto
Journal of Clinical Oncology 2009 November 20, 27 (33): 5640-9
19805685

PURPOSE: Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is increasingly used for staging women with breast cancer, including screening for occult contralateral cancer. This article is a review and meta-analysis of studies reporting contralateral MRI in women with newly diagnosed invasive breast cancer.

METHODS: We systematically reviewed the evidence on contralateral MRI, calculating pooled estimates for positive predictive value (PPV), true-positive:false-positive ratio (TP:FP), and incremental cancer detection rate (ICDR) over conventional imaging. Random effects logistic regression examined whether estimates were associated with study quality or clinical variables.

RESULTS: Twenty-two studies reported contralateral malignancies detected only by MRI in 131 of 3,253 women. Summary estimates were as follows: MRI-detected suspicious findings (TP plus FP), 9.3% (95% CI, 5.8% to 14.7%); ICDR, 4.1% (95% CI, 2.7% to 6.0%), PPV, 47.9% (95% CI, 31.8% to 64.6%); TP:FP ratio, 0.92 (95% CI, 0.47 to 1.82). PPV was associated with the number of test positives and baseline imaging. Few studies included consecutive women, and few ascertained outcomes in all subjects. Where reported, 35.1% of MRI-detected cancers were ductal carcinoma in situ (mean size = 6.9 mm), 64.9% were invasive cancers (mean size = 9.3 mm), and the majority were stage pTis or pT1 and node negative. Effect on treatment was inconsistently reported, but many women underwent contralateral mastectomy.

CONCLUSION: MRI detects contralateral lesions in a substantial proportion of women, but does not reliably distinguish benign from malignant findings. Relatively high ICDR may be due to selection bias and/or overdetection. Women must be informed of the uncertain benefit and potential harm, including additional investigations and surgery.

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