(HealthDay News) — Quantitative measurement of background enhancement (BE) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is significantly higher in premenopausal women with breast cancer compared to postmenopausal women with breast cancer, according to a pilot study published in the June issue of Radiology.

Anabel M. Scaranelo, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues reviewed 147 consecutive preoperative breast MRI examinations performed from February to December 2009. Using the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System lexicon, the ordinal values of BE and breast density were described by two independent readers. (SI2 ∙ 100/SI1) − 100, where SI is signal intensity, was used to calculate BE coefficient (BEC). SI enhancement measured in the largest anteroposterior dimension in the axial plane one minute after the contrast agent injection was used to define SI2. SI before contrast injection defined SI1.

The researchers found that, of the patients, whose median age was 48 years, 68 (46 percent) were premenopausal and 79 (54 percent) were postmenopausal. There was a significant association between quantitative BEC and menstrual status. Compared with postmenopausal women, the percentage of overall BE was significantly higher when the MRI was performed in women in the inadequate phase of the cycle. BEC was significantly higher in premenopausal versus postmenopausal women. The percentage of BE was not significantly different between breast density groups.

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“Premenopausal women with breast cancer, and specifically women in the inadequate phase of the cycle, presented with higher quantitative BE than postmenopausal women,” the authors write.

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