PET/CT and breast cancer

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2004 Jun:31 Suppl 1:S135-42. doi: 10.1007/s00259-004-1536-7. Epub 2004 May 5.


During the past decade, the application of positron emission tomography with [(18)F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG-PET) has remarkably improved the management of cancer patients. Nevertheless, the clinical interpretation of FDG-PET scan can be difficult for two main reasons: (1) anatomical localisation of FDG uptake is not easy, (2) normal physiological accumulation of FDG can be misinterpreted as a pathologic area. It has been demonstrated that the visual correlation of PET with morphological procedures, such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, can improve the accuracy of PET alone. However, the time interval between the two scans, the time employed by the operator and difficulties in co-registering imaging of the abdomen and pelvis make the co-registration of separately obtained images clinically difficult. A novel combined PET/CT system has been built that improves the capacity to correctly localise and interpret FDG uptake. To date only a few studies have been conducted on the potential role of PET/CT in the management of breast cancer patients, but the better performance of this technique compared with PET alone should also be relevant for breast cancer application. In this review, we evaluate the possible impact on breast cancer diagnosis of PET/CT compared with PET alone, with respect to disease re-staging, treatment monitoring, preoperative staging and primary diagnosis. In addition, the possible role of PET/CT for radiotherapy planning is evaluated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Prognosis
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Subtraction Technique*
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18