Department of Surgery, Rijnstate Hospital, TA Arnhem, The Netherlands.
The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the role of fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) in the staging of high-risk women with primary or recurrent breast cancer.FDG-PET was performed in 42 women with a primary breast cancer and unfavourable characteristics, or who had a suspected relapse. FDG-PET and conventional staging methods were compared. In case of abnormality on FDG-PET, confirmation was always attempted.Increased uptake was found in five of 17 women with a primary cancer. In the 25 women with a suspected relapse, FDG-PET showed increased uptake in 43 areas, 22 correctly confirming the area of suspected relapse and 21 indicating other sites of metastases. Compared with conventional imaging, FDG-PET revealed additional (confirmed) lesions in two women with primary cancers and three with relapse. Patient management was changed for five women.FDG-PET is a sensitive diagnostic method for the detection of distant metastatic disease. Its exact role in women with breast cancer remains to be defined.