SAN DIEGO, Nov. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Radiology journal released new data from an NIH-sponsored, multi-site study of hundreds of women with newly diagnosed breast cancer that shows Positron Emission Mammography (PEM) may reduce unnecessary breast biopsies. The study found that PEM was significantly more precise at identifying benign and cancerous lesions, in what scientists call "Positive Predictive Value" or "PPV," therefore reducing the number of unnecessary biopsies. A common physician complaint regarding the use of Breast MRI is its tendency to identify suspicious lesions, requiring biopsies, which ultimately are found to be benign. To hear luminary physician reaction to the results and what they mean to patient care, click here http://www.naviscan.com/Consensusvideo/  to view the interviews.
This finding is a welcomed outcome for women and physicians looking for ways to reduce the patient trauma associated with biopsies and for payors looking to reduce the costs associated with unnecessary procedures. The 388 woman study showed that PEM not only demonstrated a six percent improvement in specificity at comparably high sensitivity, but that PEM also had 31 fewer unnecessary biopsies and 26% higher PPV than Breast MR. These results are also particularly significant for those women who cannot tolerate an MR exam and require an alternate imaging tool.
"The results of this study mean that not only do physicians have an additional, powerful tool to help treat breast cancer but that PEM is a legitimate and better alternative for the 16% of women who cannot tolerate MR due to claustrophobia, metallic implants, body habitus, or gadolinium reaction," said Wendie Berg, M.D., Ph.D. and Principal Investigator for the trial. Berg recently published an article in the January 2010 issue in the journal Radiology examining the reasons why high-risk w