Breast CT is more comfortable than mammography and may detect tumors better, research shows

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Breast CT, an investigational technology for early breast cancer detection, may be better than mammography at detecting breast lesions and is much more comfortable for women, researchers from the University of California, Davis reported today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.

"In this initial evaluation, breast CT images were subjectively found to be equivalent to and potentially better than standard mammography for the detection and evaluation of breast cancer," reported Karen Lindfors, professor of radiology at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center.

Lindfors presented preliminary results from the first 21 patients enrolled in an ongoing Phase II trial of a breast CT prototype developed at UC Davis. The trial is designed to determine if breast CT can detect lesions as effectively as mammography. Researchers will evaluate about 190 patients in all. Women in the trial all have mammograms that are suspicious or highly suspicious for cancer and warrant a needle biopsy.

Prior to the needle biopsy, each volunteer undergoes breast CT. Lindfors and her colleagues then compare the breast CT studies with the mammograms and pathology reports. The comparison is subjective and nonblinded.

At the radiological society meeting, Lindfors reported that lesions seen on mammography were also seen on breast CT in 19 of the first 21 cases. The two lesions not seen on breast CT were both benign. One of the two benign lesions was in a very large breast; the other was a low-density lesion.

Lindfors noted that breast CT modifications now in progress may improve the prototype machine's ability to scan very large breasts and to detect lower-density abnormalities.

"Initial impressions were favorable with respect to breast CT," she said. "However, it is apparent that refinements in patient positioning and improvements in viewing techniques and radiologist training will

Contact: Claudia Morain
University of California, Davis - Health System

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