Molecular Breast Imaging
Improved cancer detection in women with dense breast tissue.
Dense breast tissue may hide breast cancers on mammograms. Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) reveals it.
A radiologist checks for signs of cancer. On this mammogram, a breast cancer appears as a white mass in a background of normal fatty tissue, which appears black.
40% of women have dense breast tissue that may obscure breast cancers on mammograms. Fibroglandular tissue, or dense breast tissue, also appears white on a mammogram and thus can obscure detection of breast cancers.
MBI is a new breast imaging technique that uses gamma cameras to find cancers missed by mammography in dense breasts. MBI is offered in addition to mammography.
How Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) works.
- Patients receive an injection of a radiotracer.
- Invasive breast cancers absorb more of the radiotracer than breast tissue, illuminating them for detection.
- A special gamma camera detects areas where the radiotracer has been absorbed.
- Pictures from the gamma camera show tumors as bright areas.
MBI + Mammography finds nearly 4x more breast cancers than mammography alone.
In a Mayo Clinic study, from a sample size of over 2,500 women with dense breast tissue:
32 women were diagnosed with breast cancer.
21 were detected by MBI only
5 were detected by both mammograms and MBI
3 were detected by mammogram only
3 were missed by both mammograms and MBI
When MBI was added to mammography, an additional 21 women had breast cancer detected, for a total of 32 women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Sources: MayoClinic.org; Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.gov (PMID: 25615744; 21045179).