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.
Karen Lubieniecki | EurekAlert!
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