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Breast Cancer

MRI for Breast Cancer Screening: Komen Foundation Update  
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CHICAGO – June 2, 2003 – THE SUSAN G. KOMEN BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION SAYS MRI IS GOOD NEWS FOR AT-RISK WOMEN BUT NOT READY FOR WIDESPREAD USE. Researchers at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today presented three studies on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showing that MRI may have significant implications for women at high risk for breast cancer. The findings indicate that MRI is a more sensitive screening tool than mammography, but results also suggest a lower rate of specificity among women screened with MRI.

“These studies are good news for women who fall into the ‘high risk’ category – women who have the BRCA-1 or BRAC-2 gene mutation or who have a strong history of breast cancer in their families,” said Rebecca Garcia, Ph.D., vice president of Health Sciences for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

In the case of younger at-risk women, MRI could become a method for breast cancer screening because mammography is limited in its ability to detect abnormalities in the generally denser breast tissue of younger women. Many physicians currently rely on MRI, as approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991, for use in addition to mammography to enhance detection and diagnosis capabilities.

“Despite its limitations, mammography remains the gold standard in detecting and diagnosing breast cancer,” said Garcia. “The timing is not right to drive widespread demand for MRI. For a modality to become a standard of care, there must be consistency and standardization of equipment, screening protocols, professional training and image interpretation.”

Dr. Garcia added that with the release of the ASCO study, “It is important to stress to the public that cost and accessibility issues limit the widespread use of MRI in breast imaging, despite the encouraging findings of this study.”


For more information, contact:
Kerry Beth Daly, 516-982-9328
Kristin Kelly, 972-855-1607

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is a global leader in the fight against breast cancer through its support of innovative research, education, screening and treatment programs. The Foundation devotes a major category of its grants program to research that focuses on breast imaging technology and was among the first to provide research grants specifically studying the efficacy of MRI in breast cancer screening and diagnosis. During the last five years, the Foundation has funded more than $3 million in research specific to MRI. In addition, the Foundation is a member and funding source of the International Working Groups for Breast MRI. For more information about the Komen Foundation, please visit www.komen.org.

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  • Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
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  • CancerNews.com
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  • American Society of Clinial Oncology
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