False-positive lesions mimicking breast cancer on FDG PET and PET/CT

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2012 Mar;198(3):W304-14. doi: 10.2214/AJR.11.7130.


Objective: Incidental (18)F-FDG-avid breast lesions are commonly encountered in patients with cancer who undergo staging PET/CT. This pictorial essay discusses breast lesions that show increased FDG activity, mimicking breast cancer, with biopsy-confirmed benign diagnosis.

Conclusion: Acute and chronic inflammation, physiologic lactation, and benign breast masses, including silicone granuloma, fat necrosis, fibroadenoma, and postsurgical changes, may show increased FDG uptake on PET/CT. These conditions can often be differentiated from malignancy by correlative imaging, including mammography, sonography, or MRI.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Breast Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Granuloma / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings
  • Lactation
  • Mastitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Multimodal Imaging*
  • Necrosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18