Positron Emission Tomography (PET) for Monitoring Treatment Response and Recurrence of Breast Cancer

October 31, 2007 | Evidence Reports


Positron emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear imaging modality using radioisotopes that give off positrons. The radiopharmaceutical most commonly used in PET imaging is 18F fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). FDG is a glucose analog that accumulates in tissue in proportion to the tissue's metabolic activity. Because tumor cells grow more rapidly than normal cells, FDG uptake in tumor cells is higher than in surrounding tissue, and tumors may appear as "hot spots" on PET images.

PET is usually performed on an outpatient basis in either a hospital-based or free-standing center.

Patients being treated for breast cancer may have their response to treatment assessed by PET during or shortly after completing a course of treatment. Discontinuation of toxic but ineffective therapy and/or change to an alternative therapy could improve quality of life. If the alternative therapy is more...

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