Objective:To prospectively analyse the diagnostic value of semi-quantitative breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) in the work-up of suspicious breast lesions compared with that of mammography (MG), breast ultrasound and MRI of the breast.Methods:Within a 15-month period, 67 patients with 92 breast lesions rated as Category IV or V according to the breast imaging reporting and data system detected with MG and/or ultrasound were included into the study. After the injection of 740–1110 MBq of Technetium-99m (99mTc) SestaMIBI intravenously, scintigrams were obtained in two projections comparable to MG. The BSGI was analysed visually and semi-quantitatively by calculating a relative uptake factor (X). With the exception of two patients with cardiac pacemakers, all patients underwent 3-T breast MRI. Biopsy results were obtained as the reference standard in all patients. Sensitivity, specificity, positive- and negative-predictive values, accuracy and area under the curve were calculated for each modality.Results:Among the 92 lesions, 67 (72.8%) were malignant. 60 of the 67 cancers of any size were detected by BSGI with an overall sensitivity of 90%, only exceeded by ultrasound with a sensitivity of 99%. The sensitivity of BSGI for lesions textless1 cm declined significantly to 60%. Overall specificity of ultrasound was only 20%. Specificity, accuracy and positive-predictive value were the highest for BSGI (56%, 80% and 85%, respectively). X was significantly higher for malignant lesions (mean, 4.27) and differed significantly between ductal types (mean, 4.53) and the other histopathological entities (mean, 3.12).Conclusion:Semi-quantitative BSGI with calculation of the relative uptake factor (X) can help to characterize breast lesions. BSGI negativity may obviate the need for biopsy of breast lesions textgreater1 cm with low or intermediate prevalence for malignancy.Advances in knowledge:Compared with morphological imaging modalities, specificity, positive-predictive value for malignancy and accuracy were the highest for BSGI in our study. BSGI negativity may support the decision not to biopsy in selected lesions with a low or low-to-moderate pre-test probability for malignancy.