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[en] The coherent and monochromatic x-ray beams available at the synchrotron radiation (SR) laboratories are ideal tools for the development and the initial application of new imaging techniques. In the present paper the history of the clinical studies in k-edge subtraction imaging with SR is summarized, including coronary angiography and bronchography. The results of the recent trial in phase-contrast mammography at Elettra (Trieste, Italy) are discussed, in order to assess the clinical impact of the new imaging modality and the potential interest in its translation to clinical practice. The direct measurement of linear attenuation coefficient obtained during the SR mammography trial is also discussed. The new program of phase-contrast breast CT under development at Elettra is presented. Recently, 3D breast imaging (tomosynthesis and cone beam breast CT) has been introduced in clinical practice with significant improvement in diagnostic accuracy. The aim of this research is to study the contribution of the phase-contrast to the image quality of breast CT. Increasing the image quality of the x-ray medical images at the level of the results obtained at the SR laboratories is highly desirable, hence the promising techniques for the translation of the phase-contrast imaging to the hospitals are briefly discussed.