Detecting Metastatic Patterns of Oligometastatic Breast Cancer: A Comparative Analysis of 18F-FDG PET/CT and Conventional CT Imaging

Rebecca Moser, Sophie Pfeiffer, Lisena Cala, Evelyn Klein, Marion Kiechle, Sophie T. Behzadi, Eva Fallenberg, Stephanie E. Combs, Wolfgang Weber, Kai J. Borm

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Metastasis-directed therapy has the potential to improve progression-free and overall survival in oligometastatic disease (OMD). For breast cancer, however, randomized trials have failed so far to confirm this finding. Because the concept of metastasis-directed therapy in OMD is highly dependent on the accuracy of the imaging modality, we aimed to assess the impact of 18F-FDG PET/CT on the definition of OMD in breast cancer patients. Methods: Eighty patients with a total of 150 18F-FDG PET/CT images (between October 2006 and January 2022) were enrolled in this retrospective study at the Technical University of Munich. The inclusion criteria were OMD, defined as 1-5 distant metastases, at the time of 18F-FDG PET/CT. For the current study, we systemically compared the metastatic pattern on 18F-FDG PET/CT with conventional CT. Results: At the time of 18F-FDG PET/CT, 21.3% of patients (n = 32) had a first-time diagnosis of metastatic disease, 40.7% (n = 61) had a previous history of OMD, and 38% (n = 57) had a previous history of polymetastatic disease. In 45.3% of cases, the imaging modality (18F-FDG PET/CT vs. conventional CT) had an impact on the assessment of whether OMD was present. An identical metastatic pattern was observed in only 32% of cases.18F-FDG PET/CT detected additional metastases in 33.3% of cases, mostly in the nonregional lymph node system. Conclusion: The use of 18F-FDG PET/CT had a substantial impact on the definition of OMD and detection of metastatic pattern in breast cancer. Our results emphasize the importance of establishing a standardized definition for imaging modalities in future trials and clinical practices related to metastasis-directed therapy in breast cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-850
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 3 Jun 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • 18F-FDG PET/CT
  • breast cancer
  • oligometastatic breast cancer
  • OMD


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