Diagnostic Performance of PET/MRI in Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Bayesian Bivariate Meta-analysis

Clin Breast Cancer. 2023 Feb;23(2):108-124. doi: 10.1016/j.clbc.2022.11.010. Epub 2022 Dec 1.


Introduction: By performing a systematic review and meta-analysis, the diagnostic value of 18F-FDG PET/MRI in breast lesions, lymph nodes, and distant metastases was assessed, and the merits and demerits of PET/MRI in the application of breast cancer were comprehensively reviewed.

Methods: Breast cancer-related studies using 18F-FDG PET/MRI as a diagnostic tool published before September 12, 2022 were included. The pooled sensitivity, specificity, log diagnostic odds ratio (LDOR), and area under the curve (AUC) were calculated using Bayesian bivariate meta-analysis in a lesion-based and patient-based manner.

Results: We ultimately included 24 studies (including 1723 patients). Whether on a lesion-based or patient-based analysis, PET/MRI showed superior overall pooled sensitivity (0.95 [95% CI: 0.92-0.98] & 0.93 [95% CI: 0.88-0.98]), specificity (0.94 [95% CI: 0.90-0.97] & 0.94 [95% CI: 0.92-0.97]), LDOR (5.79 [95% CI: 4.95-6.86] & 5.64 [95% CI: 4.58-7.03]) and AUC (0.98 [95% CI: 0.94-0.99] & 0.98[95% CI: 0.92-0.99]) for diagnostic applications in breast cancer. In the specific subgroup analysis, PET/MRI had high pooled sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of breast lesions and distant metastatic lesions and was especially excellent for bone lesions. PET/MRI performed poorly for diagnosing axillary lymph nodes but was better than for lymph nodes at other sites (pooled sensitivity, specificity, LDOR, AUC: 0.86 vs. 0.58, 0.90 vs. 0.82, 4.09 vs. 1.98, 0.89 vs. 0.84).

Conclusion: 18F-FDG PET/MRI performed excellently in diagnosing breast lesions and distant metastases. It can be applied to the initial diagnosis of suspicious breast lesions, accurate staging of breast cancer patients, and accurate restaging of patients with suspected recurrence.

Keywords: Breast cancer staging; Breast lesions; Distant metastases; Lymph nodes; PET/MRI diagnostic performance.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Radiopharmaceuticals