Planar Bone Scan Versus Computerized Tomography in Staging Locally Advanced Breast Cancer in Asymptomatic Patients: Does Bone Scan Change Patient Management Over Computerized Tomography?

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The Royal College of Radiologists guidelines from 2013 recommend that contrast-enhanced computerized tomography of chest, abdomen and pelvis (CT TAP) for breast cancer patients with suspected metastasis could obviate the need for bone scan in asymptomatic patients. The purpose of this study was to perform a head-to-head comparison of bone scan and CT scan in locally advanced breast cancer patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of planar bone scan in changing the stage or management of locally advanced breast cancer patients.


Between June 2006 and January 2016, 156 breast cancer patients had staging investigations (either CT and bone scans, bone scans only, or CT only). All images and reports on picture archiving and communication system were evaluated retrospectively.


One hundred five of 156 patients had both CT TAP and bone scan within 10 days of each other. Of the total of 105 patients, 33 (31.4%) had concordant normal results on CT TAP and bone scan. There were 18/105 (17.1%) patients with extraosseous metastasis on CT with negative or inconclusive bone scan. Bone scans diagnosed peripheral osseous metastasis in 5/105 (4.7%), which were either skull or extremity metastasis outside CT TAP field of view. All of these 5 patients had other metastatic lesions within axial skeleton or soft tissues on CT and led to no change in patient management.


Our findings suggest routine use of bone scan in asymptomatic patients with locally advanced breast cancer did not change patient management.

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