The Relationships of MRI Imaging Characteristics With Race

October 13, 2015
Jennifer Montes, MD

Jennifer Montes, MD, NYU Langone Medical Center, discusses a recent study evaluating the relationship between race and breast cancer findings in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests.

Jennifer Montes, MD, NYU Langone Medical Center, discusses a recent study evaluating the relationship between race and breast cancer findings in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests.

Montes says the study utilized 2092 female patients from NYU Medical Center Breast Cancer Database. She said confounding factors in racial disparity were largely removed with this database, given its participants mostly had college education, were above the poverty line, had health insurance and had a mammogram or clinical breast exam within the past year.

The median age of participants was 59 years old. Most women in the study presented with an early stage cancer, 0 or 1, and most had an invasive ductal carcinoma with either ER or PR positivity or HER2-negativity.

Compared to Caucasian patients, African-Americans showed a lower breast density, lower background parenchymal enhancement and lower fibroglandular tissue, but with a higher body mass index (BMI). Montes pointed out that Asian-Americans in the study showcased the complete opposite of those traits, but with a lower BMI.

"Further research needs to be done to elucidate the pathophysiology and biological mechanisms underlying the relationship between BMI, obesity and the types breast cancer that we're seeing in women," says Montes in conclusion.