Preoperative Staging in Women with Known Breast Cancer: Comparison between Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  •  Francesca Galati    
  •  Flaminia Marzocca    
  •  Andrea Tancredi    
  •  Emmanuel Collalunga    
  •  Carlo Catalano    
  •  Federica Pediconi    



To prospectively evaluate the accuracy in tumor extent and size assessment of Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in women with known breast cancer, with pathological size as the gold standard.


From May 2014 to April 2016, 50 patients with known breast cancer were enrolled in our prospective study. All patients underwent MRI on a 3T magnet and DBT projections. Two radiologists, with 15 and 7 years of experience in breast imaging respectively, evaluated in consensus each imaging set unaware of the final histological examination. MR and DBT sensitivity, PPV and accuracy were calculated, using histology as the gold standard. McNemar test was used to compare MR and DBT sensitivity. Correlation and regression analyses were used to evaluate MRI vs Histology, DBT vs Histology and MRI vs DBT lesions tumor size agreement to histological results.


On histological examination 70 lesions were detected. MRI showed 100% sensitivity, 96% PPV and 96% accuracy; DBT sensitivity was 81%, PPV 92% and accuracy 77%. McNemar test p-value was 0.0003. Lesions size Pearson correlation coefficient was 0.97 for MRI vs Histology, 0.92 for DBT vs Histology, (p-value<0.0001). MRI vs DBT regression coefficient was 0.83.


MRI confirmed to be the most accurate imaging technique in preoperative staging of breast cancer. However, DBT showed very good accuracy, sensitivity and tumor size assessment and could be a valid tool for preoperative staging when MRI is contraindicated.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-4858
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-4866
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: semiannual

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