New Breast Imaging Technology Targets Hard-to-Detect Cancers
(BSGI) is effective in the detection of cancers not found on mammograms or by
clinical exam, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of
the Radiological Society of
“BSGI can identify the most difficult to detect breast cancer-invasive
lobular carcinoma,” said lead author
radiology and director of the Breast Imaging and Interventional Center at The
help us detect additional lesions of all types of breast cancer in women whose
mammograms show only one suspicious lesion.”
Breast cancer affects more women than any other non-skin cancer and,
according to the American Cancer Society, accounts for more than 40,000 deaths
annually in the U.S. Most experts agree that the best way to decrease breast
cancer mortality is through early detection using mammography and clinical
breast exam. However, some cancers are difficult to detect with mammography
and clinical exam, particularly in the earliest stage when treatment is most
While mammography findings are characterized by the difference in
appearance between normal and suspicious breast tissue, BSGI findings are
based on how cancerous cells function.
“It is this physiological approach to breast cancer diagnosis that allows
for improved cancer detection,” Dr. Brem said.
BSGI is an emerging molecular imaging technology using a high-resolution
gamma camera that allows for imaging with very mild compression of the breast
along with an injection of a low-dose nuclear material called a radiotracer,
which is absorbed by the cells. Because cancerous cells have a higher rate of
metabolic activity, the tracer is taken up by these cells at a higher level
than in normal cells.
Dr. Brem and colleagues reviewed the records of 159 women with at least
one suspicious or cancerous lesion found by mammography or physical exam, who
had undergone BSGI to determine if additional lesions were present.
BSGI results showed an additional suspicious lesion missed by mammography
and physical exam in 46 (29 percent) of the women. In 14 (36 percent) of the
39 women who underwent biopsy, the newly discovered lesions were cancerous.
“The data suggest that BSGI allows for the diagnosis of more and earlier
breast cancers,” Dr. Brem said.
Dr. Brem pointed out that BSGI is not meant to replace mammography, but to
be used as an adjunct to mammography. “It is an excellent tool for locating
difficult-to-detect cancers and for screening high-risk women who have normal
mammograms and physical examination,” she said.
AT A GLANCE -- Breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) is an effective method of detecting hard-to-find breast cancer. -- BSGI identifies cancers not visible on mammograms and not found by clinical examination. -- BSGI findings are based on the metabolic activity of cancer cells.
Disclosure: Dr. Brem is on the board of directors of iCAD, Inc., a board
member of Dilon Technologies LLC and a consultant for Orbotech Ltd.
Note: Copies of RSNA 2008 news releases and electronic images will be
available online at RSNA.org/press08 beginning
RSNA is an association of more than 42,000 radiologists, radiation
oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists committed to excellence
in patient care through education and research. The Society is based in
Editor’s note: The data in these releases may differ from those in the
printed abstract and those actually presented at the meeting, as researchers
continue to update their data right up until the meeting. To ensure you are
using the most up-to-date information, please call the RSNA Newsroom at 1-312-
For patient-friendly information on breast imaging, visit
SOURCE Radiological Society of