Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography for detection of recurrent or metastatic breast cancer

World J Surg. 2001 Jul;25(7):829-34. doi: 10.1007/s002680020095.


Fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) is a noninvasive imaging technique capable of identifying primary tumors and metastases with high sensitivity and accuracy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of whole-body FDG-PET imaging for the detection of recurrent or metastatic breast cancer after surgery. Whole-body FDG-PET imaging was performed on 27 patients with suspected recurrent breast carcinoma. PET images were evaluated qualitatively for each patient and lesion. FDG-PET scans showed that there were 61 reference sites of malignant or benign lesions in 27 patients. In a patient-based analysis, FDG-PET scans correctly identified 16 of 17 patients with recurrent or metastatic disease and 8 of 10 without recurrence, resulting in a sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of 94%, 80%, and 89%, respectively. In a lesion-based analysis, FDG-PET scans correctly identified 46 of 48 lesion sites with recurrent or metastatic disease and 11 of 13 without recurrence. The overall sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for all lesion sites were 96%, 85%, and 93%, respectively. FDG-PET scans revealed unsuspected recurrent or metastatic diseases in 8 of 27 (30%) of patients and 11 of 20 (55%) distant metastatic lesions. In 13 patients treatment was altered by the outcome of the PET scan. We concluded that whole-body FDG-PET scan is a useful diagnostic imaging modality for detecting recurrent or metastatic breast carcinoma in patients suspected of having recurrent disease after primary surgery.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnostic imaging*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18