Ultrasound (US) of the breast is the most common adjunct modality used for breast evaluation. It employs no ionizing radiation, does not require intravenous contrast material, is well tolerated and widely available. The breast is ideal subject for ultrasound imaging since it is superficially located and easily accessible (without overlying structures) for interventional procedures. In addition, the sensitivity of US is not affected by the type of breast tissue. Optimal results depend on having adequate equipment with high frequency transducers and are highly operator dependent. Reliability varies according to the operator’s expertise which determines the reproducibility of images, and rates of false negatives and false positives.
The indications for breast ultrasound include: evaluation of a palpable or mammographically visualized mass, guidance for interventional procedures, for radiation planning, the initial imaging technique for the young (under 30 years of age), in pregnant, or lactating women and for the evaluation of silicone implants. Additionally, it has been very useful for the second look targeted ultrasound after a suspicious lesion is seen on the MRI or Breast Specific Gamma Imaging for guidance of the biopsy. Screening is not an indication for breast ultrasound, however, various studies have shown that the addition of ultrasound to mammography in high risk women with dense breast tissue will increase detection of breast cancer. The ACRIN 6666 study found that in this group of women, the addition of ultrasound to mammography yielded an additional 7.2 cancers per 1000 women. The sensitivity of combined mammography and ultrasound was 77.5% compared to 49% with mammography alone. In this multi-centered study, 29% of the cancers were only visualized by ultrasound. However, it is important to realize that the positive predictive value of screening ultrasound is low, that is to say that only 8.6% of the biopsies performed are positive for breast cancer compared to 14.7%. with mammography. The increased number of false positives resulted in additional biopsies and cost, creating unnecessary anxiety.
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We are proud to announce that the article entitled "Reasons Women at Elevated Risk of Breast Cancer Refuse Screening Breast MRI: ACRIN 6666" has been accepted by the RSNA 2009. Included:Supplemental Yield of US, False Positives of US and Supplemental Yield of MRI