Preoperative 18F-FDG PET/CT predicts disease-free survival in patients with primary invasive ductal breast cancer

Acta Radiol. 2015 Dec;56(12):1463-70. doi: 10.1177/0284185114556929. Epub 2014 Nov 18.


Background: Previous studies have correlated the maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) of breast cancer lesions with histological and biological characteristics such as tumor size, histologic grade, or hormonal receptor expression status. However, controversy remains concerning the prognostic value of SUVmax in breast cancer.

Purpose: To determine if the SUVmax of a tumor on 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18F-FDG PET) is associated with disease-free survival in patients with primary invasive ductal breast cancer.

Material and methods: The institutional review board of our hospital approved this retrospective study. From 2009 to 2011, 508 women (mean age, 53.6 years; age range, 26-85 years) with newly diagnosed invasive ductal breast cancer who had undergone preoperative 18F-FDG PET/CT followed by surgery were identified. Clinicopathological variables and FDG uptake quantified by SUVmax were analyzed. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to evaluate the association between SUVmax and disease-free survival after controlling for clinicopathological parameters.

Results: There were 21 recurrences at a median follow-up of 46 months. The mean SUVmax of the primary tumor was significantly higher in patients with a recurrence than those who remained disease-free (9.5 ± 3.5 vs. 6.6 ± 4.2, P < 0.001). A receiver operating characteristic curve indicated that a SUVmax of 5.95 was the optimal cut-off value to predict disease-free survival. Multivariate analysis identified a high SUVmax (≥5.95) and high T stage as independent significant variables associated with worse disease-free survival.

Conclusion: A high primary tumor SUVmax on 18F-FDG PET/CT was an independent factor associated with worse disease-free survival in patients with primary invasive ductal breast cancer.

Keywords: Breast neoplasms; disease-free survival; fluorodeoxyglucose F18; multivariate analysis; positron emission tomography.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / diagnosis*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Mammography
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimodal Imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18