Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI)
MBI takes advantage of the difference in metabolism of malignant cells compared to normal breast tissue to identify breast cancers. A low dose radiotracer is injected in the woman’s arm. The radiotracer is taken up by benign and malignant tumors in greater amounts than in normal breast tissue. After the radiotracer has accumulated in the cancer cells, it emits a type of low dose x-rays that can be detected by the MBI equipment.
The MBI equipment is able to detect very small cancers or ductal carcinoma in situ throughout the breast, and it is unaffected by dense breast tissue. MBI is therefore helpful in diagnosis of a subset of cancers that can be obscured by dense breast tissue on mammogram.
Strengths of MBI
- High sensitivity
- High specificity
- Low radiation dose
- Faster scan times compared to prior equipment
Current uses of MBI
- Supplemental screening for women with dense breasts and increased lifetime risk of developing breast cancer
- Determine extent of cancer or additional sites of cancer in new diagnosis of breast cancer
About the MBI exam
- The patient is injected with a low dose of the MBI radiotracer, which will accumulate in tumors that might be present.
- After several minutes, the patient is brought to the MBI equipment, is similar in appearance to a mammography machine.
- The breast is imaged in the standard mammogram positions. Each image takes approximately 10 minutes to acquire. The breast is held in position with gentle stabilization, which is much lighter than the compression used for a mammogram.
- After the images are acquired, they are interpreted by a board certified radiologist.
MOLECULAR BREAST IMAGING: A TOOL THAT FINDS 3X MORE BREAST TUMORS
Working with a team of physicists, Dr. Deborah Rhodes, who specializes in evaluating and managing breast cancer, developed a new tool for tumor detection that’s 3x as effective as traditional mammograms for women with dense breast tissue.