Breast-specific gamma imaging as an adjunct imaging modality for the diagnosis of breast cancer

Rachel F. Brem, Angelique C. Floerke, Jocelyn A. Rapelyea, Christine Teal, Tricia Kelly, Vivek Mathur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Purpose: To retrospectively determine the sensitivity and specificity of breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) for the detection of breast cancer by using pathologic results as the reference standard. Materials and Methods: This study was Institutional Review Board approved and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliant. Informed consent was obtained for participants who were not imaged as part of their clinical protocol but were participating in other Institutional Review Board-approved studies that used BSGI. A retrospective review of 146 women (aged 32-98 years) undergoing BSGI and breast biopsy was performed. Patients underwent BSGI with intravenous injection of 30 mCi (1110 MBq) of technetium 99 (99mTc)-sestamibi and were imaged in cranio-caudal and mediolateral oblique projections. Study images were assigned scores, and scores were classified as positive (focal increased radiotracer uptake) or negative (no uptake or scattered heterogeneous physiologic uptake) and compared with biopsy results. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were determined. Results: In 146 patients, 167 lesions underwent biopsy, of which 83 (16 ductal carcinoma in situ [DCIS] and 67 invasive cancers) were malignant. Of 84 nonmalignant lesions, 82 were benign and two showed atypical histologic results (one atypical lobular hyperplasia and one lobular carcinoma in situ). BSGI helped detect cancer in 80 of 83 malignant lesions with a sensitivity of 96.4% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 92%, 99%) and correctly identified 50 of 84 nonmalignant lesions as negative for cancer with a specificity of 59.5% (95% CI: 49%, 70%). The positive predictive value for 80 of 114 malignant lesions with a BSGI examination with findings positive for cancer was 68.8% (95% CI: 60%, 78%) and the negative predictive value for 50 of 53 nonmalignant lesions was 94.3% (95% CI: 88%, 99%). The smallest invasive cancer and DCIS detected were both 1 mm. BSGI helped detect occult cancer not visualized at mammography or ultrasonography in six patients. Conclusion: BSIG has high sensitivity (96.4%) and moderate specificity (59.5%) helping detect breast cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-657
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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