3-Minute MRI for Breast Cancer Screening

A new proof-of-concept study publishing in the Aug. 1 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology reported that a round of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that takes 3 minutes is just as effective as one that takes 21 minutes when screening for breast cancer.

According to Medscape, the 3-minute MRI is also more accurate than a digital mammography. The quicker MRI also has the ability to find 11 invasive breast cancers that can go undetected on regular mammography. 

"MRI is the technique of the future [for screening]," Dr. Christiane Kuhl, the physician who lead the team at the University Hospital of Aachen in Bonn, Germany, told Medscape. "Ionizing radiation is not involved. Compared with digital mammography, it is highly sensitive, and overdiagnosis is less of a problem, contrary to current notions."

The team of researchers reportedly read only the first postcontrast subtracted (FAST) and maximum-intensity projection images for the 3-minute MRI. The screening accuracy of the faster MRI showed to be similar to the results of a full diagnostic MRI most women undergo.

The results of the new study may mean that FAST MRIs are key for detecting breast cancer in the future. Medscape also reported that, in addition to being safe for patients, the test also finds more cancers than mammography.

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