We investigated the role of 2-[18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) in the early evaluation of response to chemotherapy in metastatic breast cancer patients. Breast cancer patients who received an epirubicin/paclitaxel--containing regimen as first-line treatment for metastatic disease were included in this study. A PET study was performed within 1 week before the start of treatment, at day 8 after the first course, and at the end of the planned program of chemotherapy. Tumor response was determined clinically and radiographically every 2 courses of treatment. Thirteen patients with metastatic breast cancer who were referred for treatment protocols with gemcitabine/epirubicin/paclitaxel or epirubicin/paclitaxel chemotherapy regimens were included in this study. All metastatic sites were easily visualized on the baseline FDG-PET images, obtained 50 to 60 minutes after tracer injection. Nine patients who completed the planned courses of chemotherapy and the FDG-PET studies were available for analysis. In the six patients who achieved a response to treatment, median glucose standard uptake value (SUV) (semiquantitative analysis) was 7.65 (range, 3.4-12.3) at baseline, 5.7 (range, 2.8-7.6) at day 8 after the first course, and 1.2 (range, 0.99-1.3) at the end of the 6 planned courses of chemotherapy. Three patients who obtained a stable disease as best response had no significant decrease in tumor glucose SUV compared to baseline levels. Qualitative visual analysis in the six responding patients showed a decrease in delineation of tumor mass from background activity soon after the first course, while the nonresponding patients had no significant modification from basal levels. Semiquantitative FDG-PET scanning of metastatic breast cancer sites showed a rapid and significant decrease in tumor glucose metabolism soon after the first course of treatment in patients who achieved a response to first-line chemotherapy. On the contrary, no significant decrease was observed in nonresponding patients.