Defining the Role of PET-CT in Staging Early Breast Cancer

Institute of Nuclear Medicine, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
The Oncologist (Impact Factor: 4.87). 04/2012; 17(5):613-9. DOI: 10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0270
Source: PubMed


Currently, there is a lack of data on the role of combined positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) in the staging of early invasive primary breast cancer. We therefore evaluated the role of (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)F-FDG)-PET-CT in this patient population.
We prospectively recruited 70 consecutive patients (69 women, one man; mean age, 61.9 ± 8.1 years) with early primary breast cancer for staging with (18)F-FDG-PET-CT. All PET-CT images were interpreted by two readers (independently of each other). A third reader adjudicated any discrepancies. All readers had ≥5 years of specific experience. Ethics board approval and informed consent were obtained.
The mean clinical follow-up was 22.7 ± 12.6 months. The primary tumor was identified with PET-CT in 64 of 70 patients. Of the unidentified lesions, surgical pathology revealed two intraductal carcinomas, one invasive tubular carcinoma, and three invasive lobular carcinomas. Undiagnosed multifocal breast disease was shown in seven of 70 patients. PET-CT identified avid axillary lymph nodes in 19 of 70 patients, compared with 24 of 70 confirmed during surgery. There were four patients who were axillary node positive on PET but had no axillary disease at surgery. Five patients were reported with avid metastases. Two of those patients were treated for metastatic disease (nodal, lung, and liver in one and bone metastases in the other) following further imaging and clinical assessment. In the other three patients, lesions (lung, n = 1; pleural, n = 1; paratrachael node, n = 1) were subsequently diagnosed as benign lesions.
Integrated (18)F-FDG-PET-CT may have a role in staging patients presenting with early breast cancer.

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Available from: Ruth ML Warren
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