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

October 31, 2007 | Evidence Reports


This report examines the use of positron emission tomography (PET) for assessing the response to treatment of breast cancer, and for detecting recurrences of breast cancer after treatment. Other uses of PET for breast cancer, such as initial diagnosis and staging, have been addressed in a separate report. Other diagnostic and imaging technologies, such as combination PET/CT scanners, are outside the scope of this report, and the use of PET for any other condition, including other types of cancer, is also outside the scope of this report. The focus of this report does not imply that other uses of this technology for other purposes and other patient populations are not important or valid.

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...

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