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23/08/2022 - General information

Usefulness of breast biopsy guided by contrast-enhanced mammography is validated

This technique, in which Hospital del Mar is a world leader, offers diagnostic results similar to those of a breast MRI, another tool that makes it possible to visualise suspicious lesions that cannot be seen with an ultrasound or mammography. This has been established in a study published in the journal European Radiology.

A team from Hospital del Mar and the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute has validated the technique involving breast biopsy guided by contrast mammography to visualise suspicious lesions that cannot be observed via ultrasound or mammography. After analysing data from tests performed on 64 women, they have been able to verify that this technique offers the same or better results than the other diagnostic tool used in these cases, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The results have been published in the journal European Radiology.

In the cases studied, contrast mammography-guided breast biopsy was successful in 95.4% of cases. In only three tests was the visibility of the findings not as expected. In comparison, MRI has a success rate of between 87% and 98%. The new technique therefore achieves similar results. Moreover, the test takes only 15 minutes, compared to the 35 to 41 minutes needed for an MRI scan, a tool which, in addition, is not always available. In 82.5% of the women, the test was performed in a seated position and in 76.2%, a horizontal approach was used.

Dr. Rodrigo Alcántara, head of the Breast Radiology unit in the Radiology Department at Hospital del Mar, says that, thanks to these results, "This technique is a potential alternative to MRI-guided biopsy for lesions that are not visually identifiable using other conventional imaging techniques. However, further studies are needed to compare the two tools to analyse patient preferences and cost-effectiveness." The complications related to the contrast mammography-guided breast biopsy were minimal, basically haematomas, similar to the other technique.

The study was carried out in collaboration with experts from the Radiology and Epidemiology and Evaluation departments at Hospital del Mar and the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute.

To perform contrast mammography-guided breast biopsy, a contrast agent that highlights tumour tissues is injected intravenously. Healthy breast tissue does not usually take this up. This new imaging tool therefore allows doctors to reliably identify the area to be biopsied, increasing the accuracy of the procedure while potentially reducing waiting times. The technique reveals information about the function of the affected area that mammography alone does not provide. Hospital del Mar was the first centre in Spain and the second in the world to incorporate this tool, in October 2019.

Reference article

Alcantara, R., Posso, M., Pitarch, M. et al. Contrast-enhanced mammography-guided biopsy: technical feasibility and first outcomes. Eur Radiol (2022).

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