FDG PET/CT & Breast Cancer

In the USA, according to the American Cancer Society 2 , in 2022, an estimated 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed, 51,400 of DCIS will be diagnosed, and 43,250 women will die from the disease. In addition, an estimated 51,400 cases of DCIS will be diagnosed among women. Breast caner is not exclusive to women, as men approximately 2,710 new cases and 530 deaths (about 1% of all breast cancer cases and deaths).

According to the World Health Organization 1 there were 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 with over 685, 000 deaths. As of the end of 2020, there were 7.8 million women alive who were diagnosed with breast cancer in the past 5 years, making it the world’s most prevalent cancer.

Illustration of FDG PET/CT Exam of a newly diagnosed triple-negative, intermediate grade, invasive mammary/ductal carcinoma of right breast. PET CT images confirm right breast primary cancer of 1.4 cm with a moderate metabolic activity, but no evidence for local or distal metastasis. Imaging of the left breast is unremarkable.

NCCN’s Commentary on PET/CT Applied to Breast Cancer

  • FDG PET/CT is most beneficial and accurate for advanced disease (stage III) and invasive ductal (compared to lobular) histology but may be useful in selected circumstances of earlier stage disease such as: equivocal CT+ bone scan results; suspicion of undetected nodal and/or distant disease; and treatment response assessment.
  • An FDG-PET/CT may be utilized as an adjunct to, or in lieu of, initial standard staging and may be performed simultaneously with diagnostic CT. Conversely, a bone scan or sodium fluoride PET/CT may not be needed if an upfront FDG PET/CT clearly indicates consistent findings on both PET and CT components.

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