Role of breast magnetic resonance imaging in determining breast as a source of unknown metastatic lymphadenopathy

Ronda S. Henry-Tillman, Steven E. Harms, Kent C. Westbrook, Soheila Korourian, Vicki Klimberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations


Background: Occult primary breast cancer (OPBC) represents less than 1% of breast cancer. In only a third of cases, mammography identifies a primary tumor. We hypothesized that rotating delivery of excitation off-resonance breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) would identify or exclude the breast as a primary site in patients with OPBC. Methods: In a retrospective review, 10 patients were identified with OPBC in which MRI was performed. Malignant appearing lesions were correlated with histopathologic findings at biopsy or surgery. Results: MRI identified the primary site in 8 of 10 cases as breast (80%), and excluded it in 2 cases. The extent of disease and location was accurately predicted when compared with histopathologic specimen. Conclusions: As we continue to focus on a cure of early breast cancer, it is imperative that diagnostic images become more sensitive and specific. MRI accurately predicted OPBC in this subset of patients. Copyright (C) 1999 Excerpta Medica Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-500
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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