Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 105, Issue 1, pp 87–94 | Cite as

Serial 2-[18F] fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) to monitor treatment of bone-dominant metastatic breast cancer predicts time to progression (TTP)

  • Jennifer M. Specht
  • Stephen L. Tam
  • Brenda F. Kurland
  • Julie R. Gralow
  • Robert B. Livingston
  • Hannah M. Linden
  • Georgiana K. Ellis
  • Erin K. Schubert
  • Lisa K. Dunnwald
  • David A. Mankoff
Original Paper



The response of bone-dominant (BD) breast cancer to therapy is difficult to assess by conventional imaging. Our preliminary studies have shown that quantitative serial 2-[18F] fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) correlates with therapeutic response of BD breast cancer, but the relationship to long-term outcome measures is unknown. Our goal was to evaluate the prognostic power of serial FDG PET in BD breast cancer patients undergoing treatment.


We reviewed medical records of 405 consecutive breast cancer patients referred for FDG PET. Of these, 28 demonstrated metastatic BD breast cancer, were undergoing treatment, had at least 2 serial PET scans, and had abnormal FDG uptake on the first scan. Standardized uptake value (SUV) for the most conspicuous bone lesion at the initial scan, absolute change in SUV over an interval of 1–17 months, and percent change in SUV were considered as predictors of time-to-progression (TTP) and time to skeletal-related event (t-SRE).


Using proportional hazards regression, smaller percentage decreases in SUV (or increases in SUV) were associated with a shorter TTP (P < 0.006). A patient with no change in SUV was twice as likely to progress compared to a patient with a 42% median decrease in SUV. A higher SUV on the initial FDG PET predicted a shorter t-SRE (hazard ratio = 1.30, P < 0.02).


Changes in serial FDG PET may predict TTP in BD metastatic breast cancer patients. However, larger prospective trials are needed to validate changes in FDG PET as a surrogate endpoint for treatment response.


Bone-dominant breast cancer FDG-PET imaging Metastatic breast cancer Monitoring treatment response Skeletal-related events Time to progression 


Acknowledgements, financial disclosures

The authors wish to thank the patients participating in this study, the University of Washington PET Center staff for image acquisition and SUV determination; Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Breast Cancer staff, and Tove Thompson for helpful discussions. Grant support from CA72064, CA42045, and Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer M. Specht
    • 1
  • Stephen L. Tam
    • 2
  • Brenda F. Kurland
    • 3
  • Julie R. Gralow
    • 1
  • Robert B. Livingston
    • 1
  • Hannah M. Linden
    • 1
  • Georgiana K. Ellis
    • 1
  • Erin K. Schubert
    • 4
  • Lisa K. Dunnwald
    • 4
  • David A. Mankoff
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Medical OncologyUniversity of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle Cancer Care AllianceSeattleUSA
  2. 2.University of Nevada School of MedicineLas VegasUSA
  3. 3.Division of Clinical ResearchFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Division of Nuclear MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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