FDG-PET/CT depicted metastases in 20 patients (49 percent). These findings were confirmed by biopsy and supplementary imaging. FDG-PET/CT produced only two false positive results, identifying those areas as cancerous when in fact no disease was present, resulting in a 95 percent accuracy rate. The PET/CT scans were also able to identify instances of cancer involvement in the patients' lymph nodes with 98 percent accuracy.
By performing PET/CT early in the treatment of inflammatory breast cancer, physicians can determine the effectiveness of the therapeutic regimen and make changes as needed.
PET provides information about how the body is functioning at the cellular level, while CT provides an anatomical rendering of the inside of the body. In an FDG-PET/CT scan, the CT first produces detailed images of the inner anatomy of the body. The patient is then injected with a small amount of a radioactive drug, which is F-18-labeled glucose, and PET is performed. Because fast-growing cancer cells feed on sugars like glucose, the PET/CT delineates areas where the glucose accumulates in the body, pinpointing the location of cancer cells.
"What's exciting about PET/CT is that it is able to detect disease in its earliest stages, when changes are happening at a functional and cellular level," Dr. Carkaci said. "This is quite different from other imaging modalities that identify disease when there is destruction of normal anatomy."
M.D. Anderson's Inflammatory Breast Cancer Clinic and Research Program, which opened in July 2007, is the world's first clinic devoted to research, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Co-authors are H.T. Le-Petross, M.D., M. Cristofanilli, M.D., A.M. Andullo-Gonzales, M.D., and W.T. Yang, M.D.
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|SOURCE Radiological Society of North America|
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