Early magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based screening may reduce breast cancer mortality among women treated with radiotherapy (RT) for childhood Hodgkin lymphoma, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.1

Researchers led by David Hodgson, MD, of the University of Toronto in Canada created a mathematical model of breast cancer development in order to evaluate marginal benefit of early initiated screening of female survivors of adolescent Hodgkin’s lymphoma starting at age 25 on breast cancer mortality compared to those who initiated screening at 40 years of age.

They found that among survivors who were treated at 15 years of age, absolute risk of breast cancer mortality by age 75 was predicted to decrease from 16.65% with no early screening to 16.28% with annual mammography, 15.40% with annual MRI, 15.38% with same-day annual mammography and MRI, and 15.37% with alternating mammography and MRI every 6 months.

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In addition, approximately 80 patients would need to be invited to an MRI-based screening in order to prevent 1 breast cancer death. Upon sensitivity analyses, the number needed to invite to MRI-based screening in order to prevent 1 breast cancer death ranged from 71 to 333.

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“The magnitude of this benefit is superior to that described for other accepted screening indications although MRI can produce a substantial rate of false-positive results,” the authors concluded.


  1. Hodgson DC, Cotton C, Crystal P, et al. Impact of early breast cancer screening on mortality among young survivors of childhood Hodgkin’s lymphoma [published online ahead of print January 14, 2016]. J Natl Cancer Inst. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djw010.