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New scanner holds promise of better breast cancer detection

Reston, VA A new high-resolution nuclear medicine imaging scanner specifically designed for breast exams has the potential to increase physicians' ability to determine if a woman has breast cancer, and may be particularly useful for women with dense breasts. The results of this early study were reported in the July 2002 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, published by the Society of Nuclear Medicine.

When compared with scintimammographic images taken on a standard gamma camera, the new camera, called a high-resolution breast-specific gamma camera (HRBGC), was able to detect more (78%) malignancies than a standard gamma camera (68%). The sensitivity of breast cancer detected in lesions <1cm increased from 46.7% to 66.7% using the new camera. It also detected 3 lesions that were not visible with mammography; one of which did not appear on the standard camera. All three were in areas of dense breast tissue.

Scintimammography is a technique in which women are injected with the radiotracer 99mTc-sestamibi that is absorbed more by malignant tissue than normal tissue, resulting in an image that can be used to locate cancerous areas. Scintimammography has been shown in studies to detect breast cancer better than traditional mammography. Standard gamma cameras have some significant drawbacks, including registration and resolution issues, and the fact that they cannot acquire multiple views, making it difficult detect lesions <1cm. This preliminary study utilized a prototype breast-specific gamma camera that was designed to address these problems.

Fifty women with a total of 58 lesions that were either palpable, or which had shown up on a mammogram or sonogram even though they couldn't be felt, were included in the study. After injection with the radiopharmaceutical, the women received consecutive scans; one with the conventional gamma camera, and then one with the prototype camera. All the lesions were ultimately either surgically or n
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Contact: Karen Lubieniecki
Karenlub@aol.com
703-683-0357
Society of Nuclear Medicine
3-Jul-2002


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