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Diffusion-weighted imaging is helpful in the accurate non-invasive diagnosis of breast abscess: correlation with necrotic breast cancer
  1. Cuiyan Wang1,2,
  2. Mohammad Eghtedari2,3,
  3. Wei Tse Yang2,
  4. Basak Erguvan Dogan2,4
  1. 1Diagnostic Radiology, Shandong Medical Imaging Research Institute, Jinan, China
  2. 2Diagnostic Radiology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
  3. 3Diagnostic Radiology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
  4. 4Diagnostic Radiology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Basak Erguvan Dogan, Basak.Dogan{at}


Clinical differentiation of atypical breast abscesses from necrotic tumour in premenopausal women is challenging and may delay appropriate therapy. In this case report, we present a 36-year-old woman with signs, symptoms and conventional imaging features of malignancy who underwent breast MRI. On diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), profoundly low apparent diffusion coefficient values were a distinguishing sign of breast abscess from necrotic breast cancer, and helped manage the patient conservatively. We present a companion case of necrotic breast tumour highlighting significant differences in DWI.

  • cancer - see oncology
  • infectious diseases
  • breast cancer
  • radiology

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  • Contributors All authors listed participated in the planning, conduct, reporting, conception and design, acquisition of images and manuscript drafting/editing. CW: conception, design and manuscript draft. ME and WY: imaging and manuscript editing. BED: conduct, reporting, conception and design, acquisition of images and manuscript drafting/editing.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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