Comparing preoperative imaging modalities in patient selection for breast intraoperative radiotherapy

Michael May, Christine Chin, Sitara Hirji, David Horowitz, Hannah Bansil, Sheldon Feldman, Richard Ha, Eileen P. Connolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: This study evaluated the relative accuracy of mammography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in predicting the tumor size of early stage breast tumors in preoperative selection of patients for intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT). Methods: We identified 156 patients with clinical T1/T2, N0 breast cancer who underwent IORT. Clinical, pathologic, and radiation data were collected. The preoperative tumor size obtained by imaging was compared with tumor pathological size. Results: The median patient age was 66. The mean tumor size at excision was 1.05 cm (0.1-3.0 cm). Out of the 156 patients, 98 had a reported, nonzero tumor size by mammography, 131 by ultrasound, and 76 by MRI. The mean difference between imaging and the tumor size was +0.062 ± 0.54 cm for mammography, −0.11 ± 0.43 cm for ultrasound, and +0.33 ± 0.55 cm for MRI, with positive values indicating an overestimate of the tumor size. MRI produced more overestimates of tumor size of at least 0.5 cm than mammography or ultrasound in a paired analysis of patients who received both modalities. Conclusions: Accuracy of imaging modalities in determining tumor size can influence patients’ eligibility for IORT. Mammography and ultrasound showed acceptable accuracy in predicting size. MRI overestimated tumor size and may inappropriately exclude patients from IORT. We would discourage ruling out candidates for IORT on the basis of large size by MRI alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)959-965
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • breast cancer
  • intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT)
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • mammography
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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