Breast MRI increases the number of mastectomies for ductal cancers, but decreases them for lobular cancers

Marc B. I. Lobbes*, Ingeborg J. H. Vriens, Annelotte C. M. van Bommel, Grard A. P. Nieuwenhuijzen, Marjolein L. Smidt, Liesbeth J. Boersma, Thijs van Dalen, Carolien Smorenburg, Henk Struikmans, Sabine Siesling, Adri C. Voogd, Vivianne C. G. Tjan-Heijnen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this retrospective population-based cohort study, we analyzed breast MRI use and its impact on type of surgery, surgical margin involvement, and the diagnosis of contralateral breast cancer.

All Dutch patients with cT(1-4)N(0-3)M(0) breast cancer diagnosed in 2011-2013 and treated with primary surgery were eligible for inclusion. Using multivariable analyses, we analyzed in different categories whether MRI use was related to surgery type, margin involvement, and diagnosis of contralateral breast cancer (CBC).

MRI was performed in 10,740 out of 36,050 patients (29.8%). Patients with invasive ductal cancer undergoing MRI were more likely to undergo primary mastectomy than those without MRI (OR 1.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.22-1.39, p <0.0001). Patients with invasive lobular cancer undergoing MRI were less likely to undergo primary mastectomy than those without MRI (OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.76-0.99, p = 0.0303). A significantly lower risk of positive surgical margins after breast-conserving surgery was only seen in patients with lobular cancer who had undergone MRI as compared to those without MRI (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.44-0.79, p = 0.0003) and, consequently, a lower risk of secondary mastectomy (OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.42-0.88, p = 0.0088). Patients who underwent MRI were almost four times more likely to be diagnosed with CBC (OR 3.55, 95% CI 3.01-4.17, p <0.0001).

Breast MRI use was associated with a reduced number of mastectomies and less positive surgical margins in invasive lobular cancer, but with an increased number of mastectomies in ductal cancers. Breast MRI use was associated with a fourfold higher incidence of CBC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-364
Number of pages12
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Breast cancer
  • MRI
  • Lobular cancer
  • Surgery
  • Contralateral breast cancer
  • RISK

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