The Breast Journal recently published original prospective data confirming the technical validity of image-guided needle biopsy of suspicious breast cancer lesions using Positron Emission Mammography (PEM)-guidance. The study, which used the Naviscan high-resolution breast PET scanner, otherwise known as a PEM scanner, marks the first time PET imaging alone has been able to target regions in the breast with abnormal FDG uptake and guide the extraction for histopathologic analysis.
The main objective of the study was to confirm successful targeting and lesion sampling. A second objective was to confirm the safety and patient comfort during the procedure. Six physicians, using three different commercially available vacuum-assisted biopsy tools, conducted this study at five sites. A total of 24 PEM-guided biopsies were completed with 100% success.
The most important advantage of PEM-guided biopsy is the ability to target and biopsy lesions that are difficult to see on other imaging tools giving patients and physicians another option in the fight against breast cancer. “I am so thankful that I was able to have this procedure,” stated Sally Ryser, a patient from Boca Raton, Florida who participated in the study. “The type of cancer that I had is called triple negative and apparently is a very aggressive form of cancer. Had I not had the PEM scan and the PEM biopsy, who knows what my prognosis would have been had the cancer not been detected. I truly feel that these innovative PEM procedures most likely saved my life.”
“PEM-guided biopsy is quite elegant and confers several advantages over MRI-guided biopsy,” stated Dr. Wendie Berg, a co-author of the paper. “We can easily image the breast after sampling to assure removal of the target, and resample at the same setting if needed. With PEM, we also have the ability to directly image the specimens, which both further confirms successful sampling and allows us to direct the pathologist’s attention to the ‘hot’ specimens.”