Breast-specific γ-imaging for the detection of mammographically occult breast cancer in women at increased risk

Rachel F. Brem, Rachel C. Ruda, Jialu L. Yang, Caitrn M. Coffey, Jocelyn A. Rapelyea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Breast-specific γ-imaging (BSGI) is a physiologic imaging modality that can detect subcentimeter and mammographically occult breast cancer, with a sensitivity and specificity comparable to MRI. The purpose of this study was to determine the incremental increase in breast cancer detection when BSGI is used as an adjunct to mammography in women at increased risk for breast cancer. Methods: All patients undergoing BSGI from April 2010 through January 2014 were retrospectively reviewed. Eligible patients were identified as women at increased risk for breast cancer and whose most recent mammogram was benign. Examinations exhibiting focally increased radiotracer uptake were considered positive. Incremental increase in cancer detection was calculated as the percentage of mammographically occult BSGI-detected breast cancer and the number of mammographically occult breast cancers detected per 1,000 women screened. Results: Included in this study were 849 patients in whom 14 BSGI examinations detected mammographically occult breast cancer. Patients ranged in age from 26 to 83 y, with a mean age of 57 y. Eleven of 14 cancers were detected in women with dense breasts. The addition of BSGI to the annual breast screen of asymptomatic women at increased risk for breast cancer yields 16.5 cancers per 1,000 women screened. When high-risk lesions and cancers were combined, BSGI detected 33.0 high-risk lesions and cancers per 1,000 women screened. Conclusion: BSGI is a reliable adjunct modality to screening mammography that increases breast cancer detection by 1.7% (14/849) in women at increased risk for breast cancer, comparable to results reported for breast MRI. BSGI is beneficial in breast cancer detection in women at increased risk, particularly in those with dense breasts. 2016 by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-684
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Breast cancer
  • Breast-specific gamma imaging
  • Molecular breast imaging
  • Scintimammography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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