What are the chances of having a false positive with an MRI and then having a biopsy?
Answer by Chris Flowers, MD- Director of Breast Imaging and Research, is a radiologist at Moffitt Cancer Centeraffiliated with the Center for Women’s Oncology and the Diagnostic Imaging Program.
A: This is a rather open question, but both ultrasound and MRI screening for women at high risk have revealed the potential for increasing false positive exams; that is, having a recall or biopsy when the eventual outcome is not one of cancer. The rate of false positive MRI findings is dependent on a number of things, from whether you are already a high risk person, in which case the radiologist is playing it safe with a lower threshold than normal, your hormonal status (young or peri-menopausal), or the timing of the MRI with regards to the menstrual cycle. Radiologists who do not read breast MRI as part of their job are also much more likely to call a normal area of breast tissue as suspicious and require a biopsy. Best advice is to seek out the best center in your area that is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR), and find out about the experience of their radiologists. If they are not accredited, check out another provider to have this done.