Health technology reviews

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Breast MRI

Status: Decision completed

View findings and decision

Policy context

Concern about safety, cost, and efficacy regarding using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to screen women at high risk for breast cancer, with the goal of providing early diagnosis and reducing the mortality rate associated with breast cancer. Breast MRI is being investigated as an adjunct to mammography for screening of high-risk women since its accuracy is not affected by breast density, it does not use radiation, and it has high sensitivity. Important questions include the how accurate breast MRI is in detecting breast cancer compared with conventional screening techniques; does screening with a breast MRI as a supplement to mammography reduce morbidity or mortality; and have a definitive patient selection criteria for the use of breast MRI screening and staging in women at high risk for the disease been established?

Primary criteria ranking

  • Safety = Low
  • Efficacy = Medium
  • Cost = High

Assessment timeline

  • Draft report published:  June 25, 2010 
  • Public comment period:  June 25 - July 16, 2010 
  • Final report published:  July 21, 2010 
  • HTCC public meeting:  August 20, 2010