ARRS logoA recent study conducted at the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Research Center in Pune, India, suggests that, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the whole body, can help detect metastases of breast cancer. The study claims that, MRI of the entire body is highly accurate and can detect bone metastases, while a patient is still asymptomatic, i.e., the patient shows no symptoms.

Whole body MRI helps the physicians, to diagnose and treat breast cancer. Cells of breast cancer usually seem to be spread, to the bones, lungs, liver, or brain. But, metastatic breast cancer tumors may be found, before or at the same time as the primary tumor, or months and even years later. Other than MRI, positron emission tomography, which is computed tomography (PET/CT), chest X-rays, bone scans, and ultrasound of the abdomen and pelvis, are the various other imaging modalities, which are probably commonly used to detect breast cancer.

“It is important that we detect metastases early in order to ensure the patient is getting the appropriate treatment. This study shows that whole body MRI can accomplish this task and is ready to be used for this indication,” explained Joshita Singh, MD, lead author of the study.

The study included 99 patients with known breast cancer. These patients were examined, to determine metastases, by using whole body MRI. Singh explained the outcome was that, 47 patients seemed to detect positive for metastases, while 52 were negative. Amongst the patients, that were detected positive for metastases, bone metastases were frequently being revealed, by whole body MRI. It was detected much earlier, when the patient was still asymptomatic.

Singh further suggested that, MRI is probably not only an effective tool for the detection of metastases, but it is also more acceptable, as it seems to emit no radiation. The authors applaud whole body MRI, as the imaging modality for the detection of metastases in patients with breast cancer.

The study was presented on May 6 at the ARRS 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.