Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Suspicious Breast Masses Seen on One Mammographic View


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Debra M. Ikeda, MD, Department of Radiology, Stanford University, Stanford Advanced Medicine Center, 875 Blake Wilbur Dr., #2234, Stanford, CA 94305-5826, USA, or e-mail:


Abstract:   The purpose of this study was to assess the utility of contrast-enhanced breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in identifying lesions unidentified on the craniocaudal projection. The authors reviewed five patients with suspicious mammographic lesions not imaged on the craniocaudal mammogram who were referred for contrast-enhanced MRI and underwent subsequent preoperative needle localization in four of the five cases. Five patients, ages 56 to 69 years, had suspicious lesions identified on mediolateral oblique (MLO) or mediolateral (ML) projections only. Ultrasound did not identify the lesion in any of these cases. MRI identified suspicious breast lesions measuring 5 to 12 mm in size. These were located high on the chest wall or in the upper inner quadrant. Suspicious lesions seen only on the MLO or ML projections may reside high on the chest wall or in the upper inner quadrant. Lesions in these locations may be typically excluded on the craniocaudal projection during mammography. Breast MRI has the advantage of imaging the entire breast and is particularly useful for these lesions. In this series, MRI prevented delay in breast cancer diagnosis.