Breast Lesions Detected via Molecular Breast Imaging: Physiological Parameters Affecting Interpretation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Academic Radiology








background parenchymal enhancement; Breast cancer; breast specific gamma imaging; density; heterogeneous; homogeneous; mass lesion; molecular breast imaging; nonmass; scintimammography


© 2018 The Association of University Radiologists Rationale and Objectives: To evaluate correlations between molecular breast imaging (MBI) descriptor characteristics and positive predictive value (PPV) in detecting breast cancer. Materials and Methods: A retrospective review was performed on 193 suspicious findings from 153 women (31–81 years) with positive MBI examinations. We assessed associations between (i) lesion pattern (mass vs. nonmass) and PPV; (ii) lesion pattern and suspected likelihood of cancer (low vs. moderate vs. high); (iii) background parenchymal uptake (BPU) (homogeneous vs. heterogeneous) and PPV; (iv) breast density (dense vs. non-dense) and PPV; and (v) BPU and density. Results: One hundred ten of 153 patients were diagnosed with malignancy or high-risk pathology (PPV1 = 71.9%), and 130/193 biopsies resulted in malignant or high-risk lesions (PPV3 = 67.4%). Biopsies of mass vs. nonmass findings had comparable PPV3 (71.7% vs. 61.3%; P = .0717). Mass findings were correlated with higher suspicion for cancer than nonmass findings (P < .001). There was no significant difference in PPV3 when comparing biopsies from homogeneous vs. heterogeneous BPU (72.5% vs. 60.7%; P = .103). No association was found between patients' BPU and diagnosed cancer or high-risk lesions (P = .513). Biopsies from nondense breasts demonstrated higher PPV3 than biopsies from dense breasts (85.4% vs. 60.6%; P = .0025); patients with nondense breasts were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer or high-risk pathology (PPV1 = 87.8% vs. 66.0%; P = .00844). Dense breasts had a greater association with heterogeneous BPU (P = .0844). Conclusion: Neither variability in mass or nonmass positive MBI findings, nor variability in BPU on MBI were significant determinants for the probability of malignancy. Dense breasts were associated with lower predictability and heterogeneous BPU on MBI.

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