Contrast-enhanced digital breast tomosythesis and breast MRI to monitor response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy: patient tolerance and preference

Sarah L Savaridas, Patsy Whelehan, Violet R Warwick, Sarah J Vinnicombe, Andrew J Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVE: Contrast-enhanced digital breast tomosynthesis (CE-DBT) is a novel imaging technique, combining contrast-enhanced spectral mammography and tomosynthesis. This may offer an alternative imaging technique to breast MRI for monitoring of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. This paper addresses patient experience and preference regarding the two techniques.

METHODS: Conducted as part of a prospective pilot study; patients were asked to complete questionnaires pertaining to their experience of CE-DBT and MRI following pre-treatment and end-of-treatment imaging. Questionnaires consisted of eight questions answered on a categorical scale, two using a visual analogue scale (VAS), and a question to indicate preference of imaging technique. Statistical analysis was performed with Wilcoxon signed rank test and McNemar test for related samples using SPSS v. 25.

RESULTS: 18 patients were enrolled in the pilot study. Matched CE-DBT and MRI questionnaires were completed after 22 patient episodes. Patient preference was indicated after 31 patient episodes. Overall, on 77% of occasions patients preferred CE-DBT with no difference between pre-treatment and end-of-treatment imaging. Overall experience (p = 0.008), non-breast pain (p = 0.046), anxiety measured using VAS (p = 0.003), and feeling of being put at ease by staff (p = 0.023) was better for CE-DBT. However, more breast pain was experienced during CE-DBT when measured on both VAS (p = 0.011) and categorical scale (p = 0.021).

CONCLUSION: Our paper suggests that patients prefer CE-DBT to MRI, adding further evidence in favour of contrast-enhanced mammographic techniques.

ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: Contrast mammographic techniques offer an alternative, more accessible imaging technique to breast MRI. Whilst other studies have addressed patient experience of contrast-enhanced spectral mammography, this is the first study to directly explore patient preference for CE-DBT over MRI in the setting of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, finding that overall, patients preferred CE-DBT despite the relatively long breast compression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20210779
JournalThe British Journal of Radiology
Issue number1134
Early online date18 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • Breast/diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Mammography/methods
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Contrast-enhanced digital breast tomosythesis and breast MRI to monitor response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy: patient tolerance and preference'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this