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PET/CT may improve prognosis for patients with inflammatory breast cancer
Date:2/2/2009

Reston, Va.In the largest study to date to evaluate fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography combined with computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) in the initial staging of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), researchers were able to identify the precise location and extent of metastasis (spread of disease), offering the potential for a better prognosis for patients with this rare, but aggressive form of breast cancer.

"PET/CT is useful in staging IBC because it provides information on both the primary disease site as well as disease involvement throughout the rest of the body," said Homer A. Macapinlac, MD, chair and professor of nuclear medicine at the University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. "In addition to detecting the presence of cancer, PET/CT is able to demonstrate the biology of cancerrevealing how aggressive the disease iswhich can help physicians develop appropriate therapy approaches."

For the study, published in the February issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, researchers reported findings in 41 women between the ages of 25 and 71 with unilateral primary IBC who had originally presented with swelling, some pain and skin changes, such as rash and skin discoloration. A palpable mass was not evident on physical examination in 26 patients (63 percent), which is not unusual in this form of breast cancer, and 90 percent had no symptoms of distant metastasis (disease spread beyond the breast).

Each patient underwent a whole-body FDG-PET/CT exam. The scans showed that nearly half of the patients (49 percent) had distant metastasis, and 27 percent had disease in multiple sites. Neither finding had been previously detected by conventional imaging. These results were confirmed by biopsy and supplementary imaging.

"Breast cancer is a systemic disease, not just a local one. Most imaging modalities are localized and will therefore miss the spread of disease that is frequently present by t
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Contact: Amy Shaw
ashaw@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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PET/CT may improve prognosis for patients with inflammatory breast cancer
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