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Breast Cancer Detection Could Be Revolutionized By A New Imaging Approach

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Breast Cancer Detection Could Be Revolutionized By A New Imaging Approach

(CTN News) – This technique could provide more reliable breast cancer screening to a broader audience, according to researchers.

In dense breast tissue, mammography’s sensitivity is reduced, reducing its effectiveness for early breast cancer detection. Overlying dense fibroglandular tissue masks this effect.

Mammography screening patients often have dense breasts, requiring additional imaging, often MRI, following the mammogram.

Low-dose positron emission mammography (PEM) provides improved diagnostic performance at a radiation dose comparable to mammography.

Twenty-five women recently diagnosed with breast cancer underwent low-dose PEM with the radiotracer fluorine-18-labeled fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG). A pair of Breast Cancer radiologists reviewed PEM images taken one and four hours after 18F-FDG injections and compared them to lab results.

The PEM detected 24 out of 25 invasive cancers (96%), similar to MRI. False positive rates were only 16%, compared to 62% in MRIs.

In screening and diagnostic settings, low-dose PEM may prove useful, says Dr. Freitas.

The fact that it is capable of screening effectively regardless of breast density could overcome a critical shortcoming of mammography, particularly in detecting cancers in dense breasts where lesions may be obscured by dense tissue. Additionally, it may be a viable option for patients at high risk who are claustrophobic or have contraindications to MRI.”

As well as interpreting uncertain mammogram results, evaluating chemotherapy response and ascertaining the extent of disease in newly diagnosed breast cancer, including the involvement of the other breast, the technology could be crucial to interpreting uncertain mammogram results.

PEM can reduce false positives associated with MRI scans, according to Dr. Freitas. In addition to these roles, he is a member of the Breast Imaging Division of the Toronto Joint Department of Medical Imaging, as well as the University Health Network, Sinai Health System, and Women’s College Hospital.

As long as PEM succeeds in lowering these rates, it may reduce the emotional distress associated with false positives, Dr. Freitas said. As a result, unnecessary biopsies and treatments could be reduced.

The exact role and efficacy of low-dose PEM in clinical settings require further research.

It is still unclear whether this imaging method will be fully integrated into clinical practice, but the preliminary findings are promising, particularly when fluorine-18-labeled FDG can be used to detect invasive breast cancer at low doses,” Dr. Freitas explained. “This is a crucial first step toward its possible implementation in clinical practice in the future.”

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