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

he time IBC is diagnosed," Macapinlac said. "The use of a whole-body modality such as PET/CT with its higher sensitivity, however, allows us to pinpoint metastasis in other parts of the body; for example, behind the claviclewhich can not be detected in a physical examor in the abdominal organs or pelvic lymph nodes."

IBC tends to grow more quickly and aggressively than the more common types of breast cancer. Upon diagnosis, it is already considered to be at least stage IIIB (locally advanced) and even stage IV if it has spread to distant parts of the body. Because of this, IBC has been harder to successfully treat than other types of breast cancer. Knowing the extent of the disease at the start could have a great impact on the outcome for many patients, Macapinlac added.

"With FDG-PET/CT, physicians are able to accurately determine the location of metastases early in the disease process when appropriate treatment can be administered. Furthermore, a PET/CT procedure for IBC patients may be less than or equivalent to the total cost of separately imaging multiple organs and would require a single hospital visit and decreased imaging time when compared to the time required for a battery of regional staging studies," Macapinlac said.

The researchers would like to see future studies that use PET/CT earlier in the process and also to track therapy response to determine whether or not it is succeeding.

"Knowing the extent of disease up front has great implication for prognosis," Macapinlac said. "IBC is a treatable disease. The sooner we can determine the extent, the sooner we can begin aggressive therapy."

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
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Contact: Amy Shaw
ashaw@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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