MRI for women at high risk of breast cancer

Women aged between 20 and 49 should be offered an annual MRI screening for breast cancer if they are in a high risk group or they are know to have a genetic mutation.

MRI breast cancer
This recommendation has been published in updated NICE clinical guidance on familial breast cancer. NICE suggest the following criteria to identify women who should be offered annual MRI scans:
  • BRCA1 and BRAC2 mutation carriers aged 30-49 years.
  • TP53 mutation carriers aged 20 years or older.
  • Women aged 30-39 years: if the 10-year risk is greater than 8 per cent.
  • Women aged 40-49 years: if the 10-year risk is greater than 20 per cent or if the 10-year risk is greater than 12 per cent and mammography has shown a dense breast pattern.
This udpates has arisen from a review of new clinical evidence. All other recommendations remain the same.

Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive said: ‘NICE always reviews its guidance to take into account new evidence. In 2004 we were aware of 3 major studies that were due to be published after our guidance was issued and took the decision to update our guidance once they were available. The studies show greater sensitivity of MRI in detecting breast cancer at an early stage in women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer due to their family history, and we have therefore recommended its use this group.’

Ms Wendy Watson, Patient Representative and Director of Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline, said: ‘I am delighted with the updated NICE guideline. In the recent MARIBS trial, MRI has proved to be of enormous benefit to women who are at increased risk of breast cancer. The combination of MRI and mammography is especially valuable to young women with the faulty BRCA1 gene. Anything that offers more options to women at increased risk has to be a clear advantage.’

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