MRI background parenchymal enhancement in patients with invasive lobular carcinoma: Endocrine hormonal treatment effect

Ahuva Grubstein*, Yael Rapson, Moran Manor, Rinat Yerushalmi, Shlomo Gavrieli, Shlomit Tamir, Sagit Meshulam, Eli Atar, Salomon M. Stemmer, Tzippy Shochat, Tanir M. Allweis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: High background parenchymal enhancement (BPE) levels and asymmetric distribution could cause diagnostic uncertainty due to morphological similarity to breast cancer, especially invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC). We investigated BPE in ILC patients, its association with the tumor hormonal profile, and the effect of endocrine treatment (ET). METHODS: The analysis included all MRI examinations performed at our institution between 2010 and 2019 for ILC-diagnosed patients. Baseline study and the first follow-up study were reviewed. Digital medical records were reviewed to retrieve demographics/pathology results/treatment information. BPE and fibroglandular tissue were assessed qualitatively on the contralateral breast according to the criteria of the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS). RESULTS: The study included 129 patients. Most (91%) had pure ILC. All received ET; 12% also received chemotherapy; 90% had surgery first; 70% by breast conservation. On the baseline MRI, 70% had mild or moderate BPE; whereas, on the follow-up study, the majority (59%) had minimal BPE. Most BPE reductions were by 2 degrees. In the baseline study, additional biopsies were required in 59% of cases, and in 17%, a short-term follow-up was recommended. In the follow-up study, biopsies were recommended in 10%, and a short-term follow-up was requested in 16%. A correlation between progesterone receptor intensity index and baseline BPE level was observed (r = 0.3, p = 0.004). CONCLUSION: ILC patients usually exhibit high BPE. ET decreases BPE, and therefore may decrease false-positive interpretations. Additional research is needed to explore whether study can be performed on ET without compromising sensitivity. Key points: High background parenchymal enhancement levels reduces breast MRI sensitivity, yielding high false positive rates especially when reporting cases of invasive lobular carcinoma [ILC]. Treatment of ILC with endocrine therapy reduces background parenchymal enhancement and thus could decrease these false-positive interpretations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)317-323
Number of pages7
JournalBreast Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

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  • Breast cancer
  • MRI scans
  • carcinoma
  • lobular
  • retrospective study


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