Purpose This study developed and tested a novel scanner constructed for dedicated positron emission tomography (PET) of the breast. The breast PET (B-PET) scanner is designed with two opposing detectors using curve plate NaI(Tl) detectors to achieve a combination of high spatial resolution and energy resolution.
Methods Phantom and clinical studies (n = 20) with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose were carried out on the whole-body Philips Allegro scanner and the B-PET scanner. Images were subjectively assessed by an expert panel.
Results Phantom studies indicated improved contrast for B-PET over conventional PET. Of the 20 clinical studies with breast cancer demonstrated on whole-body fluorodeoxyglucose PET, 10 B-PET scans showed agreement. Of the remaining 10 studies, three had breasts that were too small to be imaged, four had lesions that were too deep to be captured in the field of view, and three were excluded due to technical errors.
Conclusions Compared with conventional PET, B-PET images provided greater detail in breast lesions suggesting that the low-cost and relatively simple design of B-PET may potentially be an important adjunct to traditional mammography in helping determine the nature of a lesion.