What is the role of PET scanning in the workup of breast cancer?

Updated: Feb 04, 2021
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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Using a wide range of labeled metabolites (eg, fluorinated glucose [18 FDG]), positron emission tomography (PET) can detect changes in metabolic activity, vascularization, oxygen consumption, and tumor receptor status.

When PET is combined with computed tomography (CT) to assist in anatomic localization (PET-CT), scans can identify axillary and nonaxillary (eg, internal mammary or supraclavicular) lymph node metastasis for the purposes of staging locally advanced and inflammatory breast cancer before initiation of neoadjuvant therapy and restaging high-risk patients for local or distant recurrences.

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