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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2013 Jan;40(1):72-9. doi: 10.1007/s00259-012-2244-3. Epub 2012 Sep 28.

Semi-quantitative lymph node assessment of (18)F-FDG PET/CT in locally advanced breast cancer: correlation with biological prognostic factors.

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Nuclear Medicine Department, University General Hospital, C/ Obispo Rafael Torija s/n, Ciudad Real, Spain.



The aim of this study was to analyse the correlation between dual-time-point (18)F-2-deoxy-2-fluoro-D-glucose (FDG) uptakes in lymph nodes assessed by positron emission tomography (PET)/CT and histopathological and immunohistochemical prognostic factors.


Seventy-five women with locally advanced breast cancer were prospectively evaluated. PET/CT was requested in the initial staging previous to adjuvant chemotherapy (multicentre study). All of the patients underwent (18)F-FDG PET/CT with a dual-time-point acquisition. Both examinations were evaluated qualitatively and semi-quantitatively with calculation of maximum standardized uptake values (SUV(max)) in PET-1 (SUV-1) and in PET-2 (SUV-2) and the percentage variation of the SUV or retention index (RI) between PET-1 and PET-2 in lymph nodes with the greater (18)F-FDG uptake. The biological prognostic parameters such as the steroid receptor status, p53 and HER2 expression, proliferation rate (Ki-67) and grading were determined from tissue of the primary tumour. Metabolic and biological parameters were correlated using Spearman's rank-order correlation coefficient and Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis tests.


Negative receptor status was correlated with higher SUV-1, SUV-2 and RI in lymph nodes. The results were significant for progesterone receptor status. p53 over-expression and triple-negative status were associated with greater semi-quantitative parameters in lymph nodes. Higher tumoural grades were related with greater semi-quantitative parameters (p > 0.05).


Biological factors of bad prognosis were correlated with higher semi-quantitative metabolic values in lymph nodes. Therefore these results appear to reveal biological significance of lymph node (18)F-FDG accumulation.

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