PET Tracer Detects Estrogen Receptor Levels Across Breast Cancer Metastases, Study Finds

PET Tracer Detects Estrogen Receptor Levels Across Breast Cancer Metastases, Study Finds
A specific PET tracer is able to detect differences in estrogen receptor production throughout the body, and might help guide treatment of breast cancer patients whose cancer has spread, new study reveals. The study, "18F-Fluoroestradiol Tumor Uptake Is Heterogeneous and Influenced by Site of Metastasis in Breast Cancer Patients," conducted by researchers from the Netherlands, was published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Prognosis and treatment of metastatic breast cancer is largely influenced by the distribution and expression of estrogen receptor (ER). Although previous studies have already shown there is a high degree of heterogeneity on ER expression between the primary tumor and metastases, not much is known regarding estrogen receptor variability across different metastases and in the surrounding tissue. Visualization and calculation of estrogen receptor levels in tumor lesions can be performed by positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using an imaging tracer called fluorine-18-fluoroestradiol (18F-FES) — a molecule that, once incorporated by the body, allows researchers to measure the amount of estrogen receptor present in the lesions. This is an attractive imaging method that allows not only the visualization and quantification of ER levels in primary and secondary tumor sites, but also in normal tissue surrounding metastases. In this study, researchers used 18F-FES PET to study ER heterogeneity in secondary metastases and normal surrounding tissue in a total of 91 patients diagnosed with ER-positive metastatic breast cancer, who performed scans between
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