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Fusion Imaging in Breast Cancer: Usefulness and Limitations with PET and CT

Linda Giering, PhD

 *Medical Writer, Matawan, New Jersey.

Address correspondence to: Linda Giering, PhD. E-mail: lindagiering@gmail.com.

Disclosure statement: The author reports having no significant financial or advisory relationships with corporate organizations related to this activity.


Multimodality imaging entered the clinical arena more than a decade ago and has become a mainstay in oncology. Significant efforts have been directed toward developing and enhancing these imaging methods for the early detection, diagnosis, and characterization of breast tumors. The success is based on the delivery of complimentary information. Initially, 2 separate studies were conducted and using sophisticated algorithms, images were fused together to enhance the available diagnostic information. The spatial resolution and contrast of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can augment the relatively low spatial resolution, but high molar sensitivity of positron emission tomography (PET) may allow small changes in pathophysiology to be visualized. The integration of these imaging modalities into a single device, hybrid imaging, facilitates exact fusion and provides more information than either modality alone. While fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET/CT has been available for well over a decade, data on the clinical utility of FDG PET/MRI continues to emerge. In the future, the appropriate modality will be chosen based on the needs of the each breast cancer patient and the clinical indication being evaluated, but hybrid imaging will likely play an important role in the journey of breast cancer patients. 

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