Original Investigation| Volume 23, ISSUE 2, P168-175, February 2016

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Breast Background Parenchymal Enhancement on Screening Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Women Who Received Chest Radiotherapy for Childhood Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Published:November 03, 2015DOI:

      Rationale and Objectives

      Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is recommended for the screening of women with a history of chest radiotherapy and consequent increased breast cancer risk. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of prior chest radiotherapy on breast tissue background parenchymal enhancement (BPE) at screening breast MRI.

      Materials and Methods

      A departmental database was reviewed to identify asymptomatic women with either a history of chest radiotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma or age-matched controls who underwent screening breast MRI between 2009 and 2013. MRI studies were analyzed on an automated breast MRI viewing platform to calculate breast BPE and breast density.


      A total of 61 cases (mean age 41.6 ± 6.75 years) and 61 controls (mean age 40.8 ± 6.99 years) were included. The age of patients at the time of chest radiotherapy was 22.6 ± 8.17 years. Screening MRI was performed 19.0 ± 7.43 years after chest radiotherapy. BPE was significantly higher in patients who received chest radiotherapy (50% vs. 37%, P <0.01). A weak to moderate positive correlation (r > 0.3; P < 0.03) was found between BPE and number of years post radiotherapy. There was a trend toward significant difference between the two groups in the correlation of BPE and age (P = 0.05). Breast density was not significantly different between the two groups.


      BPE is significantly greater in women who receive chest radiotherapy for childhood Hodgkin's lymphoma, and unexpectedly, it positively correlates with the number of years passed after radiation therapy. Long-term biological effects of radiation therapy on breast parenchyma need further research.

      Key Words

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