June 23, 2010 – New guidelines for breast scintigraphy with breast-specific gamma cameras were established this week by the Society of Nuclear Medicine Procedure Guidelines Committee. This protocol serves as a guide to clinicians performing breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) to ensure optimal clinical results and will help improve the understanding of how and when to use this molecular breast imaging technique.
Mammography is very useful in the detection of breast cancer, but for some women, the mammogram can be difficult to interpret due to the presence of complex, dense breast tissue. With BSGI, the patient receives a pharmaceutical tracing agent that is absorbed by all the cells in the body. Due to their increased rate of metabolic activity, cancerous cells in the breast absorb a greater amount of the tracing agent than normal, healthy cells and generally appear as focal areas on the BSGI image. As a result, BSGI can see lesions independent of breast tissue density and discover early stage cancers hidden by complex breast tissue.
Several studies have determined that combining BSGI and mammography greatly improves the detection of breast cancer over the use of either imaging study alone. In addition, several recent studies have shown BSGI to have comparable sensitivity but superior specificity when compared to MRI. Therefore, like MRI, BSGI can detect cancers missed by the mammogram, but it leads to fewer biopsies of benign lesions.
For more information: www.snm.org