Encouraging new study finds that MRI false-positives drop over time
Feb 1, 2011
A new study has shown that women who are at a high-risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer experience more false-positive results from their first MRI screening than their peers.
MRI screens, due to their high sensitivity and low specificity, are notorious for having high false-positive rates compared to other forms of breast cancer testing, such as mammograms.
The new research, published in Radiology studied 650 breast MRIs among 343 high-risk women. The study found that as the number of MRI screens increased, false-positive rates dropped.
Scientists attribute the lower number of false-positive results to increased accuracy from measuring abnormal lesions over time.
"If you've had past MRIs, the false-positive rate would go down because you would have something to compare the findings to," said Dr. Martha B. Mainiero of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
As a result, this new study may lead to higher screening rates and lower anxiety among women afraid of the emotional and monetary costs of false-positive screenings.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. The organization also advises all women over the age of 40 to undergo a yearly mammogram.