Role of F-18 FDG PET/CT in Patients with Suspected Recurrent Breast Cancer: Additional Value over Conventional Imaging Modalities

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Mehrdad Bakhshayeshkaram
Farahnaz Aghahosseini
Sara Alavinejad
Yalda Salehi
Sharareh Seifi
Maryam Hassanzad


F-18 FDG PET/CT, Recurrence, Breast Cancer, Conventional Imaging


Background: The aim of the present study was to investigate the added value of F-18 fludeoxyglucose (FDG) positron-emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) compared with conventional imaging modalities for the evaluation of locoregional and distant sites of recurrence in breast cancer patients.
Methods: From May 2013 to September 2016, 109 patients with suspected recurrent breast cancer who underwent conventional imaging and F-18 FDG PET/CT with an interval of 6 weeks were consecutively enrolled (mean age: 52.66 years; range: 29?79). Histopathologic results and clinical follow up based on the gold-standard imaging modality or serial imaging were considered as the reference for verification of F-18 FDG PET/CT findings.
Results: Of 109 patients, 81 were found to have at least one site of recurrence (74.31%). Local recurrence was correctly identified in 32/32 patients following PET/CT, which was higher than that on conventional imaging (20/32, 62.5%). PET/CT detected 27 additional nodal metastases compared with conventional imaging (59 vs. 32, 45.76%), most frequently in the hilar/mediastinal region (n=27), followed by the supraclavicular lymph nodes (n=20, 62.5%), internal mammary lymph nodes (n=6, 18.77%), and axillary basin (n=6, 18.77%). Additional sites of distant metastasis were identified in 41 patients (37.61%) following F-18 FDG PET/CT imaging, 48.78% of which were localized in the skeletal system (n=20), 21.95% in the liver (n=9), 12.19% in the lungs (n=5), 12.19% in the brain (n=5), and 4.87% in the adrenal glands (n=2).
Conclusion: F-18 FDG PET/CT serves as a useful supplement to conventional imaging techniques by identifying additional sites of disease recurrence in patients with breast cancer, which may change the preferred treatment strategy, particularly in regions that are not routinely evaluated by conventional imaging.


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