Background: An increasing number of patients with breast cancer is being treated with preoperative chemotherapy. Evaluation of treatment response may be facilitated by positron emission tomography (PET) with 18F-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG). This noninvasive technique may allow prediction of the chemotherapy outcome in an early phase of the treatment.
Methods: Prerequisites for treatment monitoring with PET are good FDG uptake in the tumor, high specificity, and a reliable quantification technique. These factors were studied in 20 patients with primary breast cancer, lymph node metastases, benign breast lesions, a combination of these abnormalities, or no abnormality.
Results: In 10 of 11 patients with primary breast cancer, the tumor was visualized. The median tumor-to-normal-tissue-uptake ratio was 4.9. In all five patients with increased uptake in the lymph node basin, pathologic proof of metastatic cancer was found. Of the patients with benign or no disease of the breast, slightly increased uptake was seen in one patient with fibrocystic disease.
Conclusion: It is concluded that PET with FDG can be used for breast cancer imaging and staging.