Positron emission tomography in patients with breast cancer using (18)F-3'-deoxy-3'-fluoro-l-thymidine ((18)F-FLT)-a pilot study

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2006 Feb;32(1):39-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2005.09.011. Epub 2005 Nov 2.


Background: This pilot study investigated the feasibility of (18)F-3'-deoxy-3'-fluoro-l-thymidine ((18)F-FLT) as a positron emission tomography (PET) tracer for the visualisation of breast cancer.

Methods: Patients with breast cancer underwent (18)F-FLT-PET prior to surgery. The uptake of (18)F-FLT was determined in the primary tumour and in the axilla.

Results: Eight tumours were visualized by (18)F-FLT-PET with a mean uptake value (SUV(mean)) of 1.7 and mean tumour-non-tumour ratio (TNT) of 5.0. In seven patients, axillary lymph-node metastases were found at pathological examinations, however, (18)F-FLT-PET showed uptake in only two large (and clinically evident) lymph-node metastases.

Conclusions: (18)F-FLT shows uptake in most primary breast tumours and in large axillary lymph-node metastases.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Axilla
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Carcinoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma / surgery
  • Dideoxynucleosides*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes*
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Mastectomy
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Preoperative Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy


  • Dideoxynucleosides
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • alovudine