Contrast-enhanced spectral mammography as work-up tool in patients recalled from breast cancer screening has low risks and might hold clinical benefits

I. P. L. Houben, P. Van de Voorde, C. R. L. P. N. Jeukens, J. E. Wildberger, L. F. Kooreman, M. L. Smidt, M. B. I. Lobbes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Web of Science)


Objective: Contrast-enhanced spectral mammography (CESM) is a reliable problem solving tool in the work-up of women recalled from breast cancer screening. We evaluated additional findings caused by CESM alone and outweighed them against the disadvantages of this technique.

Methods: From December 2012 to December 2015, all women recalled from screening who underwent CESM were considered for this study. Radiation exposure and number of adverse contrast reactions were analysed. An experienced breast radiologist reviewed all exams and identified cases with lesions detected by CESM alone and scored their conspicuity. From these cases, data on breast density and final diagnosis were collected. For malignant cases, tumour grade and receptor characteristics were also collected.

Results: During this study, 839 women underwent CESM after a screening recall, in which five minor adverse contrast reactions were observed. Median radiation dose per exam was 6.0 mGy (0.9-23.4 mGy). Seventy CESM-only lesions were detected in 65 patients. Of these 70 lesions, 54.3% proved to be malignant, most commonly invasive ductal carcinomas. The remaining CESM-only lesions were benign, predominantly fibroadenomas. No complications were observed during biopsy of these lesions. Retrospectively, the majority of the lesions were either occult or a 'minimal sign' on low-energy CESM images or the screening mammogram.

Conclusion: Using CESM as a work-up tool for women recalled from screening carries low risk for the patient, while additionally detected tumour foci might hold important clinical implications which need to be further studied in large, randomized controlled trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


  • Full field digital mammography
  • Contrast enhanced spectral mammography
  • Work-up tool
  • Breast cancer screening
  • Risks
  • Benefits

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