Recurrent and metastatic breast cancer PET, PET/CT, PET/MRI: FDG and new biomarkers.Q J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2013 Dec;57(4):352-66
Authors: Gaeta CM, Vercher-Conejero JL, Sher AC, Kohan A, Rubbert C, Avril N
Primary breast cancer often displays only moderately increased glucose metabolism resulting in a low sensitivity of positron emission tomography (PET) using [F-18]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) in detecting small breast carcinomas, locoregional micrometastases and non-enlarged tumor infiltrated lymphnodes. In contrast, distant breast cancer metastases are generally characterized by significantly increased metabolic activity compared to normal tissue. Therefore, FDG-PET provides accurate diagnostic information as a whole body imaging modality in staging of breast cancer patients. The metabolic information from FDG-PET/CT is often more sensitive than conventional imaging for the detection of distant metastases, particularly in the recurrent setting. FDG-PET is superior in detecting tumor-involved distant lymphnodes, particularly those which are normal in size, as well as in characterizing enlarged lymphnodes as positive or negative for malignancy. Of note, CT is superior in detecting small lung metastases. Although the overall sensitivity for bone scintigraphy and FDG-PET are comparable, bone scintigraphy seems to be superior in the detection of osteoblastic disease whereas FDG-PET is superior for osteolytic metastases, suggesting a complementary role for both imaging procedures. FDG-PET/MR has an evolving role in breast cancer management, for example in the detection of liver metastases and in the research setting for treatment monitoring. The utilization of PET for prediction of treatment response to primary chemotherapy is an area of active research, using FDG as well as other PET biomarkers including [F-18]Fluoroestradiol, [F-18]Fluorothymidine and integrin targeting tracer for monitoring anti-angiogenic therapy.