FDG PET/CT May Improve Staging In Young Breast Cancer Patients

Gary Ulaner, MD, PhD Assistant Attending Radiologist Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Assistant Professor of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical School Chair, Radiology Research CommitteeMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gary Ulaner, MD, PhD
Assistant Attending Radiologist
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Assistant Professor of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical School
Chair, Radiology Research Committee

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Ulaner: FDG PET/CT revealed distant metastases in 17% of asymptomatic stage IIB breast cancer patients below 40 years of age.   Although NCCN guidelines recommend against systemic staging in patients with stage II disease, our data suggests that PET/CT might be valuable in younger patients at earlier stages of disease than previously expected.

Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results?

Dr. Ulaner: In addition to the discovery of extra-axillary lymph nodes and distant metastases that alter the stage of breast cancer patients, 5 of 134 patients were discovered to have a second unsuspected malignancy (4 thyroid and 1 rectal).

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Ulaner: Not all breast cancer patients are the same.  Clinical factors, such as patient age, may alter the value of FDG PET/CT systemic staging in different groups of breast cancer patients.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Ulaner: Future NCCN guidelines may need to account for other factors in addition to clinical stage to determine whether a breast cancer patient should undergo systemic staging with FDG PET/CT.

Citation:

Retrospective analysis of FDG PET/CT for staging asymptomatic breast cancer patients below 40 years of age

Christopher C. Riedl, Elina Slobod, Maxine Jochelson, Monica Morrow, Debra A. Goldman, Mithat Gonen, Wolfgang A. Weber, and Gary A. Ulaner

J Nucl Med jnumed.114.143297 published ahead of print September 11, 2014 (10.2967/jnumed.114.143297).