Study Says Gamma Camera Detects Difficult-to-Treat Breast Cancers

by: cancercompass

A new molecular imaging technology using a high-resolution gamma camera found breast cancers not detected by mammograms or by clinical exam, according to a study presented earlier this month at the annual meeting of Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) findings are based on how cancerous cells function, unlike mammography findings that depend on identifying differences in appearance between normal and suspicious breast tissue. That's according to the study's lead author Rachel F. Brem, M.D., professor of radiology and director of the Breast Imaging and Interventional Center at The George Washington University Medical Center in Washington D.C.

BSGI requires mild compression of the breast and an injection of a low-dose nuclear material called a radiotracer that is absorbed by cells. According to the study, the tracer is absorbed quicker by cancerous cells because they have a higher rate of metabolic activity than normal cells.

Researchers sought to prove this new technology's effectiveness by using it on 159 women with at least one suspicious or cancerous lesion found during mammography.  Overall findings revealed additional suspicious lesions in 29% of the women, according to study authors, who also noted these newly found lesions were cancerous in 36%, or 14 of the 39 women in the study.

Dr. Brem told ScienceDaily that BSGI isn't meant to replace mammography, but may assist doctors in finding difficult-to-treat breast cancers for high-risk women with normal mammograms.

Read our blog post entitled Fewer Women Getting Mammograms for American Cancer Society suggestions on making mammograms a little more pleasant.