Nucl Med Mol Imaging.  2010 Sep;44(3):170-176.

(18)F-FDG PET/CT with Contrast Enhancement for Evaluation of Axillary Lymph Node Involvement in T1 Breast Cancer

  • 1Department of Nuclear Medicine and Surgery, Yeungnam University Hospital, Namgu Daemyung 5-dong 317-1, 705-717 Daegu, Korea.


(18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)F-FDG) positron emission tomography ((PET) safely predicts axillary status in patients with breast cancer, but is not sufficiently accurate in early breast cancer patients. This study analyzed the value of (18)F-FDG PET/computed tomography (CT) with contrast enhancement in detecting axillary lymph node involvement in T1 breast cancer patients.
Contrast-enhanced (18)F-FDG PET/CT was performed within 20 days of surgery in 143 breast cancer patients with tumors < or =2 cm in size. The patients underwent either axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) or sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB), and histopathology reports were used to provide the definitive diagnosis against which the contrast-enhanced (18)F-FDG PET/CT study results were compared.
The sensitivity, specificity, and negative and positive predictive values of contrast-enhanced (18)F-FDG PET/CT in detecting axillary involvement were 70.0%, 92.2%, 88.8%, and 77.8%, respectively, in the entire series of 143 patients, with eight false-positive and 12 false negative results. The false-negative results were associated with the number of metastatic lymph nodes and the rate of FDG uptake.
Contrast-enhanced (18)F-FDG PET/CT cannot replace histologic staging using SLNB in patients with breast cancer, but (18)F-FDG PET/CT increases the sensitivity for predicting axillary node metastasis, and allows for a selective approach to either ALND or SLNB, even in patients with T1 breast cancer.


Breast cancer; Axillary lymph node; FDG; PET/CT
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