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Oncologist. 2011;16(8):1111-9. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0089. Epub 2011 Jul 17.

FDG-PET/CT compared with conventional imaging in the detection of distant metastases of primary breast cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Breast Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Evidence from studies with small numbers of patients indicates that (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) accurately detects distant metastases in the staging of primary breast cancer. We compared the sensitivity and specificity of PET/CT and conventional imaging (CT, ultrasonography, radiography, and skeletal scintigraphy) for the detection of distant metastases in patients with primary breast cancer.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

We performed a retrospective review that identified 225 patients with primary breast cancer seen from January 2000 to September 2009 for whom PET/CT data were available for review. Imaging findings were compared with findings on biopsy, subsequent imaging, or clinical follow-up. Sensitivity and specificity in the detection of distant metastases were calculated for PET/CT and conventional imaging. Fisher's exact tests were used to test the differences in sensitivity and specificity between PET/CT and conventional imaging.

RESULTS:

The mean patient age at diagnosis was 53.4 years (range, 23-84 years). The sensitivity and specificity in the detection of distant metastases were 97.4% and 91.2%, respectively, for PET/CT and 85.9% and 67.3%, respectively, for conventional imaging. The sensitivity and specificity of PET/CT were significantly higher than those of conventional imaging (p = .009 and p < .001, respectively). Eleven cases of distant metastases detected by PET/CT were clinically occult and not evident on conventional imaging.

CONCLUSION:

PET/CT has higher sensitivity and specificity than conventional imaging in the detection of distant metastases of breast cancer. A prospective study is needed to determine whether PET/CT could replace conventional imaging to detect distant metastases in patients with primary breast cancer.

PMID:
21765193
PMCID:
PMC3228159
DOI:
10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0089
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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