AIM: To investigate rates of distant metastases (DM) detected with fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography ((18)FDG-PET/CT) in early stage invasive breast cancer.
METHODS: We searched the English language literature databases of PubMed, EMBASE, ISI Web of Knowledge, Web of Science and Google Scholar, for publications on DM detected in patients who had (18)FDG-PET/CT scans as part of the staging for early stages of breast cancer (stage I and II), prior to or immediately following surgery. Reports published between 2011 and 2017 were considered. The systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines.
RESULTS: Among the 18 total studies included in the analysis, the risk of DM ranged from 0% to 8.3% and 0% to 12.9% for stage I and II invasive breast cancer, respectively. Among the patients with clinical stage II, the rate of occult metastases diagnosed by (18)FDG-PET/CT was 7.2% (range, 0%-19.6%) for stage IIA and 15.8% (range, 0%-40.8%) for stage IIB. In young patients (< 40-year-old), (18)FDG-PET/CT demonstrated a higher prevalence of DM at the time of diagnosis for those with aggressive histology (i.e., triple-negative receptors and poorly differentiated grade).
CONCLUSION: Young patients with poorly differentiated tumors and stage IIB triple-negative breast cancer may benefit from (18)FDG-PET/CT at initial staging to detect occult DM prior to surgery.
- Breast cancer
- Distant metastases
- Early stage
- Staging workup
-  fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography scan