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Cancer Res. 1992 Mar 15;52(6):1592-7.

Measurements of blood flow and exchanging water space in breast tumors using positron emission tomography: a rapid and noninvasive dynamic method.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Oncology, Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


A noninvasive dynamic method for the measurement of blood flow, using 15O-labeled water and positron emission tomography, has been developed and used to study 20 patients with breast carcinoma. The mean tumor flow was 29.8 +/- 17.0 (SE) ml/dl/min of tissue, while normal breast flow was 5.6 +/- 1.4 ml/dl/min of tissue. The exchanging water space of tissue known as the volume of distribution of the tracer (Vd) was also derived. This is defined as the volume of water in tissue that exchanges with a unit volume of water in arterial blood during the period of the study (7 min). The mean tumor Vd was 0.56 +/- 0.15 ml/ml while normal breast Vd was 0.14 +/- 0.05 ml/ml. The low value in normal breast is partly due to the high fat content of the tissue. The mean flow per unit of exchangeable volume was similar in tumor (52.8 +/- 22.0) and normal breast tissue (45.2 +/- 20.0). This suggests that the major discrepancy seen in measured values of flow between breast tumors and normal breast principally reflects the different composition of the two tissues. This method is rapid and suited for studying the reactivity of human tumor vasculature, so extending studies are being performed on animal tumors.

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