• MR elastography;
  • MR mammography;
  • breast cancer;
  • rheology;
  • frequency power law behavior


The purpose of this analysis is to explore the potential diagnostic gain provided by the viscoelastic shear properties of breast lesions for the improvement of the specificity of contrast enhanced dynamic MR mammography (MRM). The assessment of viscoelastic properties is done via dynamic MR elastography (MRE) and it is demonstrated that the complex shear modulus of in vivo breast tissue follows within the frequency range of clinical MRE a power law behavior. Taking benefit of this frequency behavior, data are interpreted in the framework of the exact model for wave propagation satisfying the causality principle. This allows to obtain the exponent of the frequency power law from the complex shear modulus at one single frequency which is validated experimentally. Thereby, scan time is drastically reduced. It is observed that malignant tumors obtain larger exponents of the power law than benign tumors indicating a more liquid-like behavior. The combination of the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BIRADS) categorization obtained via MRM with viscoelastic information leads to a substantial rise in specificity. Analysis of 39 malignant and 29 benign lesions shows a significant diagnostic gain with an increase of about 20% in specificity at 100% sensitivity. Magn Reson Med, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.