MRI contrast Gadolinium toxicity



I was diagnosed with Lobular icancer in 2012. Had neoadjuvant chemo, operation and radioterapy. The cancer was 7cm and 19 lymph nodes involved.


Over the past six years I have had combined together over 15 MRI scans (mostly breast) with Gadolinium contrast agent. I have been feeling real sick straight after last few scans I.e. nausea, bone pain, headaches, dizzines …


In the coming months I have been scheduled for more regular breast MRIs + contrast. I do not want having contrast any more with my scans.


Would therefore welcome any real experiences and advice on whether breast MRI without contrast is going to be of diagnostic value? I have an option of having 3Tesla scans? Is it worth having MRI without contrast? 

Hello, not sure I can answer you properly but I had an MRI last year for diagnostic purposes with Gadolinium contrast. I felt really weird in the scan when the contrast went in but thought was just because I’d been lying still for so long. After I got dressed headed to the loo, looked in mirror and had about 4-5 itchy red spots (hives) across my face and neck. I went back to the unit and they said I’d had an allergic reaction  to the Gadolinium. I had to then wait in unit for an hour to check it didn’t get worse, thankfully not but was told to head home and take piriton  straight away.

I saw tthe consultant radiographer and he said I’d never be able to have an MRI with Gadolinium again as reaction could be a lot worse but there were plenty of other options for diagnostic and other purposes, CT, PET etc. 

Maybe worth discussing with your team best way forward for you as doesn’t sound like and more Gadolinium would be a good idea!

best wishes

Hello mrey300,

That seems like a lot of breast MRIs in 6 years/why would they schedule you for a number of them in the coming months? Sorry, if I sound nosey - just naturally inquisitive! I have only ever had one breast MRI and that was enough!!

I am assuming you have regular breast MRI due to the type of cancer and your personal risk factors. That based on these, MRI is considered the best screening tool (?).

I suppose my first thought was - do you need to have them as regular as you are as it sounds like you are having more than one per year?

Have you spoken with your Oncologist/medical practitioner to discuss your concerns/find out about contrast toxicity/benefits of using different MRI scan equipment?

When I first had a contrast MRI with Gadolinium (nothing to do with BC), I had to have a specific kidney check done as it is known to cause issues for people with certain kidney limitations.

I am not sure but I wonder if there are different specific types of Gadolinium that can be used. I think the contrast was designed so it would not bind with body tissues but be eliminated over a few hours. However, I think there have been some research that has shown it may persist in body tissues and in particular, the brain. Hence, the long term safety of multiple MRIs with contrast has been brought into question.

My understanding is that MRI without contrast is not sufficient for breast cancer imaging (I asked when I had a breast MRI over a year ago). I also thought using the other breast MRI imaging i.e. 3Tesla, also relied on contrast use but it speeded up the process and imaging was more detailed. However, I am obviously no expert.

It is probably best that you talk with your specialists about the side effects you are feeling, your concerns and your queries. Hopefully, you can all work out the best plan of action that benefits you.

Wishing you all the best,

Chick ? X