Positron Emission Mammography: Initial Clinical Results

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Evaluation of high-risk mammograms represents an enormous clinical challenge. Functional breast imaging coupled with mammography (positron emission mammography [PEM]) could improve imaging of such lesions. A prospective study was performed using PEM in women scheduled for stereotactic breast biopsy.


Patients were recruited from the surgical clinic. Patients were injected with 10 mCi of 2-[18F] fluorodeoxyglucose. One hour later, patients were positioned on the stereotactic biopsy table, imaged with a PEM scanner, and a stereotactic biopsy was performed. Imaging was reviewed and compared with pathologic results.


There were 18 lesions in 16 patients. PEM images were analyzed by drawing a region of interest at the biopsy site and comparing the count density in the region of interest with the background. A lesion-to-background ratio >2.5 appeared to be a robust indicator of malignancy and yielded a sensitivity of 86%, specificity of 91%, and overall diagnostic accuracy of 89%. No adverse events were associated with the PEM imaging.


The data show that PEM is safe, feasible, and has an encouraging accuracy rate in this initial experience. Lesion-to-background ratios >2.5 were found to be a useful threshold value for identifying positive (malignant) results. This study supports the further development of PEM.

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