Clinical PET system for early stage breast cancer diagnosis
March 30, 2016
While current diagnostic equipment is based on morphological images and does not recognize the cancer until there is a lesion, the MAMMI PET measures the metabolic activity of the tumour by locating the high glucose uptake of the cancer cells. This allows the specialist to detect the disease much earlier and numerous studies have confirmed that early detection reduces mortality by 29%.
Until now, whole-body PET scans were indicated for breast cancer patients or for people with a high risk of suffering the disease. However, the result is a low resolution image and therefore does not detect small tumours. "Our device, however, is devoted exclusively to breasts so the detectors are very close to this part of the body and show tumours in early stages," explains Luis Caballero, head of the project in ONCOVISION.
In comparison, MAMMI can see lesions as little as 1.5 mm, while the best of the systems that currently exist offers a resolution of 5 mm. The system generally improves the diagnosis of all patients, but it is especially effective for women with breast implants or young women whose breast density has always made obtaining a clear image difficult.
Assessment in later stages
The mammography device marketed by the Valencian company can also monitor whether the treatment the patient with breast cancer is following actually works. According to Dr Caballero: "By showing the uptake of glucose, the PET technique is the only one able to reveal whether there are still cancer tissues after an operation, since with the other techniques it is impossible to distinguish tumour tissue from the scar left by the operation."
Also, the PET reveals whether the therapies of radiation and chemotherapy are effective or need to be modified. As MAMMI is a more precise PET instrument, it ensures a better assessment of tumour activity and its response to therapy.