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Constance D. Lehman and Robert A. Smith

The 2009 NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis include significant updates for the role of MRI in screening women at increased risk for breast cancer. The NCCN now recommends considering breast MRI as an adjunct to annual mammography and clinical breast examination for women who have a BRCA1 or -2 mutation or who have a first-degree relative who has a BRCA1 or -2 mutation but who have not undergone genetic testing themselves; those who are determined to have a lifetime risk greater than 20% based on models that are highly dependent on family history; and those with a history of lobular carcinoma in situ. MRI is also recommended for patients who underwent radiation treatment to the chest between 10 and 30 years of age, and in those who carry or have a first-degree relative who carries a genetic mutation in the TP53 or PTEN genes (Li-Fraumeni, Cowden, and Bannahyan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndromes). MRI is specifically not recommended for screening women at average risk for breast cancer. This article describes the peer-reviewed, published clinical research trials evaluating breast MRI in high-risk patients, on which the NCCN guidelines were based, and provides suggestions for future research.

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Constance D. Lehman, Wendy DeMartini, Benjamin O. Anderson, and Stephen B. Edge

Edited by Kerrin G. Robinson

Use of breast MRI in the preoperative evaluation of patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer has increased significantly over the past 10 years because of its well-documented high sensitivity for detecting otherwise occult breast cancer in the affected and contralateral breasts. However, published research reports on the impact of this improved cancer detection are limited. Equally important are growing concerns that the quality of breast MRI may vary significantly across practice sites, and therefore the published value of MRI may not be achieved for many patients. This article describes the peer-reviewed, published clinical research trials evaluating breast MRI in patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer on which the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) practice guidelines are based. The current NCCN guidelines recommend that breast MRI be considered for patients with a newly diagnosed breast cancer to evaluate the extent of ipsilateral disease and to screen the contralateral breast, particularly for women at increased risk for mammographically occult disease. In addition, the guidelines indicate that breast MRI may be used for patients with axillary nodal adenocarcinoma to identify the primary malignancy. The guidelines stress the importance of having proper equipment, imaging technique, and provider training necessary to achieve high-quality breast MRI, and emphasize that MRI practice sites should have the ability to perform MRI-guided biopsy or needle localization. In addition to describing the data regarding use of breast MRI in women with newly diagnosed cancer, this article provides recommendations for the performance of high-quality breast MRI and suggestions for future research.