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Breast Cancer Diagnosis With New PET Imaging Technique

Posted Dec 21 2009 12:00am
Positron Emission Tomography (or PET) is a form of nuclear medicine imaging that is used to measure important body functions and to diagnose some medical conditions.  New breast cancer research shows that PET scanning might one day be able to diagnose breast cancer without the need for a biopsy.

In this new study, researchers used a specific breed of mice that naturally develops breast cancer to test a new imaging agent called 64Cu-TP3805.  In this study, researchers took nine mice with breast cancer, scanned them first with imaging agent 18F-FDG (the current gold standard agent) and then scanned them a second time with the new 64Cu-TP3805 imaging agent.  Of the 10 breast tumors detected, 2 were detected by only the gold standard agent, 4 were detected by both imaging agents, and 4 were detected by only the new imaging agent.  Of the 6 tumors detected by the gold standard agent, 4 were malignant.  In comparison, all 8 of the breast tumors detected by the new 64Cu-TP3805 imaging agent were cancerous.

While the number of animals was small and the study was done in mice rather than human volunteers, the fact that this new imaging agent detected 100% of the cancerous tumors is impressive.  It has been estimated that current imaging methods miss about 30% of breast cancers and can not determine weather a tumor is benign or malignant.  These deficiencies result in the need for a biopsy to determine the status of the breast tumor.  This new imaging agent appears to have the potential to determine the status of a breast tumor without the need for a biopsy, which could dramatically cut down on the number of unnecessary biopsies currently being performed.  Clearly, large clinical trials will need to be conducted to prove safety and true effectiveness; however, this new imaging agent shows the potential to improve breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

While progress continues to be made in the fight against breast cancer, there are steps that you can take to reduce your own breast cancer risk.  Read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer at to learn more.
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