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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 123-128

Cranial computed tomographic findings in Nigerian women with metastatic breast cancer

1 Department of Radiology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria
2 Department of Neurosurgery, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria
3 Department of Radiotherapy, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria
4 Department of Pathology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria
5 Department of Surgery, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Godwin Inalegwu Ogbole
Department of Radiology, University College Hospital, Ibadan PMB 5116
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0300-1652.110048

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Introduction: Brain metastases (BM) occur in up to one-fifth of patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Imaging plays a key role in diagnosis. The pattern and distribution of these changes are also crucial to their management. These patterns have not been fully studied in Nigerian women. Materials and Methods: Retrospective analysis of the findings on the cranial Computed Tomography (CT) scans performed in 59 breast cancer patients with suspected BM treated at the University Teaching Hospital in Ibadan, between 2005 and 2010. The imaging features were evaluated in relation to their clinical characteristics. Results: In the 59 patients studied (mean age 50.9 years ± 11.75 SD), headache (40.7%) and hemiparesis/hemiplegia (16.9%) were the commonest clinical presentation. Lytic skull lesions were seen in 15 patients (25.4%), most commonly in the parietal bones. Thirty-nine patients (66.1%), had parenchymal brain lesions, and only 8 (20.5%) of these were single lesions. Most of the lesions were isodense (19/39; 51.4%) the parietal lobe was the most common site with 50.8% (30/59) occurrence and the leptomeninges the least with 13.6% (8/59). Orbital or sellar region involvement occurred in only two patients. The size of the lesions, was <2 cm in 17 (28.8%), 2-5 cm in 14 (23.7%) and >5 cm in 5 patients. Sixteen (27.1%) patients were free of any lesion either in the skull or brain. Patient presenting with multiple brain lesions were more likely to have skull lesions though this was not statistically significant ( P = 0.584). Conclusion: The brain continues to be a sanctuary site for breast cancer metastases and CT imaging remains an invaluable tool in the clinical evaluation and therapeutic management of Nigerian women with BM from MBC. It also appears that the demographic and imaging findings in these patients are similar to other racial groups.

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