By Kate Madden Yee, staff writer
November 9, 2011

For the RSNA 2011 conference, breast imaging abstract submissions increased by 40% as compared with last year's meeting, a testament to the continued drive to find better methods for early breast cancer detection, according to Dr. Hiroyuki Abe, PhD, of the University of Chicago, chair of the RSNA education exhibit breast subcommittee.

Conference attendees will encounter sessions and posters that examine current issues in breast imaging, such as imaging of reconstructed breasts and management of high-risk lesions. Breast ultrasound will be a highlight at this year's RSNA meeting: Researchers will share findings from studies that evaluate the efficacy of automated breast ultrasound and compare the accuracy of ultrasound and MRI in lymph node staging (check out session SSE02 on Monday, November 28, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Room E450A, as well as session SSJ01 on Tuesday, November 29, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Arie Crown Theater).

"Automated breast ultrasound is one of the hot topics at this year's conference, due in part to the breast density notification legislation that more and more states have been demanding," Abe told

Road to RSNA 2011: Women's Imaging Preview Be sure to check out the three special interest sessions at the conference. The first will offer an overview of the current status of breast cancer screening, including screening with MRI, ultrasound, and digital breast tomosynthesis (Monday, November 28, 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m., SPSI26, Room E451B), while the second -- titled "Breast Imaging Jeopardy" -- will examine national and international perspectives on screening mammography (Wednesday, November 30, 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m., SPSC45, Room E450A). For the third, a panel of experts will discuss PET imaging in breast cancer in a session that includes topics such as staging and restaging breast cancer with FDG-PET, using PET to monitor treatment response in breast cancer, and using non-FDG tracers for breast cancer imaging (Thursday, December 1, 3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., SPSH52, Room E352).

In the MRI realm, RSNA 2011 attendees will find several presentations devoted to research on diffusion-weighted MR breast imaging, Abe said. The technology doesn't require contrast, but rather measures the movement of water within different types of breast tissue and may improve MRI's specificity in breast imaging (for starters, check out poster session LL-BRS-TU in the Lakeside Learning Center).

"Diffusion-weighted MRI isn't a new technology, but researchers are exploring its use as a means to evaluate the effect of chemotherapy, and that's generating a lot of interest now," Abe said.

Also highlighted will be advanced imaging technologies such as molecular breast imaging -- which offer not only anatomic information but also functional data that can lead to more targeted breast cancer therapy (be sure to check out multisession course MSVM21 on Monday, November 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Arie Crown Theater).

Finally, attendees will be able to view a number of posters that assess the diagnostic capability of breast imaging modalities, such as breast-specific gamma imaging and ultrasound elastography (take a look at poster sessions LL-BRS-SU and LL-BRS-MO in the Lakeside Learning Center). And in the computer-aided detection (CAD) arena, a refresher course called "New Trends in Breast CAD" will be offered on Tuesday, November 29 (4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m., RC421, Room E352).

Read on for highlights of some of the more notable women's imaging papers scheduled for presentation at the RSNA 2011 meeting. To view the RSNA's listing of abstracts for this year's scientific and educational program, click here.

Scientific and Educational Presentations
BI-RADS 3 lesions common on screening US
Sunday, November 27 | 10:55 a.m.-11:05 a.m. | SSA01-02 | Arie Crown Theater
BI-RADS 3 lesions are seen in nearly 20% of participants after three rounds of screening ultrasound, but they are rarely malignant, according to researchers from Southwoods Imaging Center in Youngstown, OH.
Interpretation error rate in screening US comparable to mammo, MRI
Sunday, November 27 | 11:05 a.m.-11:15 a.m. | SSA01-03 | Arie Crown Theater
In this scientific paper presentation, University of Pittsburgh researchers will discuss how interpretation errors in screening ultrasound are similar in frequency to interpretation errors in mammography and MRI.
Handheld screening breast US effective in dense breasts
Sunday, November 27 | 11:25 a.m.-11:35 a.m. | SSA01-05 | Arie Crown Theater
Handheld screening breast ultrasound performed by technologists and offered to women with dense breast tissue does fine in detecting small cancers missed by mammography, although the overall positive predictive value of the modality is low, according to researchers at Yale University.
DBT plus digital mammography may improve breast screening accuracy
Sunday, November 27 | 1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. | LL-BRS-SU1B | Lakeside Learning Center
Adding digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) to full-field digital mammography may improve the diagnostic accuracy of breast screening, but more studies are needed, according to researchers at King's College Hospital.
Optical imaging improves mammography's specificity
Monday, November 28 | 8:50 a.m.-9:00 a.m. | MSVM21-02 | Arie Crown Theater
In this Monday morning session, Boston researchers will describe how combining tomographic optical breast imaging with mammography or digital breast tomosynthesis can improve specificity in the early diagnosis of breast cancer and reduce unnecessary biopsies.
Low-dose MBI works just as well in dense breast tissue
Monday, November 28 | 9:50 a.m.-10:00 a.m. | MSVM21-07 | Arie Crown Theater
Low-dose molecular breast imaging (MBI) is just as sensitive as conventional-dose MBI in detecting cancers in dense breast tissue mammography misses, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
BSGI more sensitive than ultrasound, mammography
Monday, November 28 | 10:10 a.m.-10:20 a.m. | MSVM21-08 | Arie Crown Theater
Breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) has greater sensitivity and comparable specificity compared with ultrasound and mammography, according to researchers at the Hospital of Central Connecticut, and it could be a valuable additional procedure when these imaging modalities fail to provide a clear diagnosis.
Dense breast tissue doesn't affect BSGI's sensitivity
Monday, November 28 | 10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m. | MSVM21-12 | Arie Crown Theater
In this scientific paper presentation, researchers from George Washington University Medical Center will discuss results from their study showing that the sensitivity of breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) is not affected by breast density.
Automated whole-breast US finds more cancer than mammo alone
Monday, November 28 | 3:00 p.m.-3:10 p.m. | SSE02-01 | Room E450A
Automated whole-breast ultrasound finds cancers in dense breast tissue that mammography alone would not, according to researchers who will present their finding in this Monday afternoon session.
Breast CT plus CAD offers breast screening alternative
Monday, November 28 | 3:30 p.m.-3:40 p.m. | SSE21-04 | Room S403A
Researchers at the University of Chicago have determined that breast CT plus computer-aided detection (CAD) could be a viable alternative to traditional breast screening modalities.
DBT could replace digital mammo for finding noncalcified lesions
Tuesday, November 29 | 9:40 a.m.-9:50 a.m. | MSVB31-06 | Arie Crown Theater
Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) has comparable sensitivity and specificity to standard diagnostic mammographic views for classifying noncalcified breast lesions, and could replace the latter technology, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh.
Interpretation time for DBT acceptable for breast cancer screening
Tuesday, November 29 | 9:50 a.m.-10:00 a.m. | MSVB31-07 | Arie Crown Theater
In this Tuesday morning talk, Oslo University Hospital researchers will discuss their study showing that interpretation time for digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is longer than with full-field digital mammography, but it's still acceptable for high-volume batch mode screening.
Adding DBT to screening mammography decreases recall rates
Tuesday, November 29 | 10:10 a.m.-10:20 a.m. | MSVB31-08 | Arie Crown Theater
Using digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) in combination with full-field digital mammography decreases recall rates during baseline screening mammography of women between the ages of 39 and 56, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh.
DBT plus FFDM increases cancer detection rates for high-risk women
Tuesday, November 29 | 10:30 a.m.-10:40 a.m. | MSVB31-10 | Arie Crown Theater
Using full-field digital mammography (FFDM) with digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) increases the cancer detection rate in women with dense breasts, according to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital.
DBT more accurate than FFDM in interpreting mammographic signs
Wednesday, November 30 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSK01-09 | Arie Crown Theater
In this Wednesday session, researchers will present their results on how digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) better visualizes some mammographic lesions with nonspecific features on full-field digital mammography (FFDM).
CBCT comparable to MRI in classifying breast lesions
Wednesday, November 30 | 3:40 p.m.-3:50 p.m. | SSM01-05 | Arie Crown Theater
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have found that conebeam CT (CBCT) and MRI are comparable in their ability to classify breast lesions as benign or malignant.
3T breast MRI bests 1.5T in detecting additional cancer
Thursday, December 1 | 9:20 a.m.-9:30 a.m. | MSVB51-05 | Room E451B
Three-tesla breast MRI appears slightly better than 1.5-tesla in detecting suspicious lesions in patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer, according to researchers at Yale University.
Screening mammography utilization rises among Medicare beneficiaries
Friday, December 2 | 11:20 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | SST01-06 | Room E450B
The utilization rate of screening mammography per 1,000 women in the Medicare population is rising, although the rate of diagnostic mammography is falling, according to researchers at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

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