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Lancet. 1983 Sep 10;2(8350):613-6.

Detection of breast carcinoma metastases in bone: relative merits of X-rays and skeletal scintigraphy.


Of 1116 patients receiving primary treatment for breast carcinoma at the Royal Marsden Hospital since 1976, 651 had an abnormal bone scintigram either at primary diagnosis (378) or on subsequent follow-up (273) and 167 developed radiographically detectable bone metastases (21 at the time of primary diagnosis). Comparison of bone scintigrams and X-rays showed that scintigraphy was an inaccurate localiser of existing radiographic detectable metastases. If X-rays alone are used to detect bone metastases a limited examination with five plates will detect metastases with 92% accuracy. After primary surgery, routine X-ray screening for bone metastases is not necessary since it is possible to identify patients at risk on the basis of clinical examination, chest X-ray, and serum alkaline phosphatase and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase levels.

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