Detecting accurate tumor size across imaging modalities in breast cancer

Olutayo Sogunro, Constance Cashen, Sami Fakir, Julie Stausmire, Nancy Buderer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Of the most common imaging modalities for breast cancer diagnosis - mammogram (MAM), ultrasound (US), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - it has not been well established which of these most accurately corresponds to the histological tumor size. OBJECTIVE: To determine which imaging modality (MAM, US, MRI) is most accurate for determining the histological tumor size of breast lesions. METHODS: A retrospective study of 76 breast cancers found in 73 female patients who received MAM, US, and/or MRI was performed. 239 charts were reviewed and 73 patients met inclusion criteria. Analysis was performed using signed rank tests comparing the reported tumor size on the imaging modality to the tumor size on pathology report. RESULTS: Mammography and ultrasonography underestimated tumor size by 3.5 mm and 4 mm (p-values < 0.002), respectively. MRI tends to overestimate tumor size by 3 mm (p-value = 0.0570). Mammogram was equivalent to pathological size within 1 mm 24% of the time and within 2 mm 35% of the time. CONCLUSIONS: No one single modality is the most accurate for detecting tumor size. When interpreting the size reported on breast imaging modalities, the amount of underestimation and overestimation in tumor size should be considered for both clinical staging and surgical decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
JournalBreast Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • accurate
  • Breast cancer
  • imaging
  • mammogram
  • MRI
  • size
  • tumor
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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