Comparison of fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography and technetium-99m methoxyisobutylisonitrile scintimammography in the detection of breast tumours

Eur J Nucl Med. 1997 Sep;24(9):1138-45. doi: 10.1007/BF01254246.


The aim of this study was to compare, in breast cancer patients, the diagnostic accuracy of positron emission tomography (PET) using fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and scintimammography (SMM) using technetium-99m methoxyisobutylisonitrile (MIBI). A total of 20 patients (40 breasts with 22 lesions) were evaluated serially with MIBI and, on the following day, with FDG. For SMM, planar and single-photon emission tomography imaging in the prone position was performed starting at 10 min following the injection of MIBI (740 MBq). For PET, scans were acquired 45-60 min after the injection of FDG (370 MBq) and attentuation correction was performed following transmission scans. Results from SMM and PET were subsequently compared with the histopathology results. True-positive results were obtained in 12/13 primary breast cancers (mean diameter=29 mm, range 8-53 mm) with both FDG and MIBI. False-negative results were obtained in two local recurrences (diameter <9 mm) with both FDG and MIBI. In benign disease, FDG and MIBI did not localize three fibrocystic lesions, two fibroadenomas and one inflammatory lesion (true-negative), but both localized one fibroadenoma (false-positive). Collectively, the results demonstrate a sensitivity of 92%, and a specificity of 86%, for primary breast cancer regardless of whether FDG or MIBI was used. In contrast to MIBI scintigraphy, FDG PET scored the axillae correctly as either positive (metastatic disease) or negative (no axillary disease) in all 12 patients. The tumour/non-tumour ratio for MIBI was 1.97 (range 1.43-3.1). The mean standard uptake value (SUV) for FDG uptake was 2.57 (range 0.3-6.2). The diagnostic accuracy of SMM was equivalent to that of FDG PET for the detection of primary breast cancer. For the detection of in situ lymph node metastases of the axilla, FDG seems to be more sensitive than 99mTc-MIBI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Axilla
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes*
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi