PET tracer identifies estrogen receptor expression differences in breast cancer patients
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IMAGE: Distribution and 18F-FES uptake of all metastases (n=1,617) in 91 individual patients. Bone (blue), lymph node (green), lung (red), breast (pink), brain (orange) and other (purple) lesions are presented. Patients… view more 

Credit: HH Nienhuis et al., University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

RESTON, VA — In metastatic breast cancer, prognosis and treatment is largely influenced by estrogen receptor (ER) expression of the metastases. However, little is known about ER expression across metastases throughout the body and surrounding normal tissue. Using a positron emission tomography (PET) tracer, researchers in the Netherlands have been able to identify differences in ER expression, which could help guide treatment for metastatic breast cancer patients. The study is featured in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine‘s August issue.

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers, and it’s the second leading cause of cancer death for women (following lung cancer). Currently, the U.S. has more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors, and American women have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer.

For the study, researchers used fluorine-18-fluoroestradiol (18F-FES) PET to assess ER expression heterogeneity in 91 patients with metastatic

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