Outcomes of Foci on Breast MRI: Features Associated with Malignancy

Kelly S. Myers, Eniola T. Oluyemi, Lisa A. Mullen, Emily B. Ambinder, Ihab R. Kamel, Susan C. Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE. The objective of this study was to determine the outcomes of foci seen on breast MRI and to evaluate imaging features associated with malignancy. MATERIALS AND METHODS. In this institutional review board-approved retrospective study, we reviewed 200 eligible foci in 179 patients that were assigned BI-RADS category of 3 or 4 from December 2004 to August 2018. Clinical and imaging features of all eligible foci were collected, and associations with malignant outcomes were evaluated. Malignancy rates were also calculated. RESULTS. Of 200 eligible foci, 64 were assigned BI-RADS category 3 and 136 were assigned BI-RADS category 4. The malignancy rate was 1.6% (1/64) among BI-RADS 3 foci and 17.6% (24/136) for BI-RADS 4 foci. The majority of malignant foci represented invasive breast cancer (68.0%, 17/25). Focus size and washout kinetics were significantly associated with malignant outcome (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION. Despite the high prevalence of foci on breast MRI, data are limited to guide their management. Foci should not be disregarded, because foci undergoing biopsy had a malignancy rate of 17.6%, with the majority of malignant foci representing invasive cancer. Larger size and washout kinetics were associated with malignancy in our study and should raise the suspicion level for a focus on breast MRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1012-1019
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Breast imaging
  • Mri

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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