Open Access Research article

Growth of breast cancer recurrences assessed by consecutive MRI

Ingrid Millet1, Emmanuelle Bouic-Pages1, Denis Hoa1, David Azria2 and Patrice Taourel1*

Author Affiliations

1 Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Lapeyronie, Montpellier, France

2 CRLC Val d'Aurelle, Montpellier, France

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BMC Cancer 2011, 11:155  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-155

Published: 28 April 2011



Women with a personal history of breast cancer have a high risk of developing an ipsi- or contralateral recurrence. We aimed to compare the growth rate of primary breast cancer and recurrences in women who had undergone prior breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


Three hundred and sixty-two women were diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone breast MRI at the time of diagnosis in our institution (2005 - 2009). Among them, 37 had at least one prior breast MRI with the lesion being visible but not diagnosed as cancer. A linear regression of tumour volume measured on MRI scans and time data was performed using a generalized logistic model to calculate growth rates. The primary objective was to compare the tumour growth rate of patients with either primary breast cancer (no history of breast cancer) or ipsi- or contralateral recurrences of breast cancer.


Twenty women had no history of breast cancer and 17 patients were diagnosed as recurrences (7 and 10 were ipsi- and contralateral, respectively). The tumour growth rate was higher in contralateral recurrences than in ipsilateral recurrences (growth rate [10-3 days-1] 3.56 vs 1.38, p < .001) or primary cancer (3.56 vs 2.09, p = 0.01). Differences in tumour growth were not significant for other patient-, tumour- or treatment-related characteristics.


These findings suggest that contralateral breast cancer presents accelerated growth compared to ipsilateral recurrences or primary breast events.