Positron emission mammography is coming to Europe

Every medical congress is an opportunity for the manufacturers to showcase their products. This year’s congress of the German Röntgen Society was no exception -- and one innovation particularly caught the attention of our European Hospital team: positron emission mammography, PEM for short.

Photo: Positron emission mammography is coming to Europe

At the Medicor booth we met with Stefanie Groes, Regional Director of the company that will be selling the scanner in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, to hear about the technology of the new device and its applications.

The PEM scanner is a mobile unit about the size of an ultrasound system. Two detectors acquire twelve slice images from which a high-value 3-D PET image is constructed. Just like a PET scan, the PEM image shows FDG accumulation. But, there the similarities end. PEM offers a much higher resolution than PET and the new technology’s high sensitivity (>90%) and specificity (88% NPV and 92% accuracy) may turn out to be the key to detect lesions as small as 1 to 2 mm.

‘PEM detects tumours long before ultrasound mammography and MRI even begin to get inkling that there might be something there. Malignant structures, no matter what size, literally gobble up glucose and store it. An MRI scanner can visualise tumours only when they have vascularised -- that means, when they have developed a blood vessel system,’ Stephanie Groes explained.

However, despite this impressive diagnostic performance, she added, PEM will most likely never be used for mammography screening.

In the US, where the PEM scanner is being manufactured by NaviScan, the new technology has proved particularly valuable in cancer follow-up. As soon as a tumour is detected it can be staged or removed directly by biopsy. ‘Mammography and MRI often visualise lesions as a tissue mass. PEM images, however, allow the physician to distinguish individual tumours or multiple metastases,’ Stefanie Gores pointed out, adding that the biopsy results can be assessed in one FDG cycle. PEM may also be used to monitor the body’s response to chemotherapy.

Before PEM can conquer German breast cancer centres a legal framework has to be established and necessary approvals obtained. Medicor is confident that it will receive the support of the authorities.

At this point it is clear that PEM – unlike other established breast cancer detection modalities – will not come under the auspices of radiologists because the technology, like whole-body PET, is subject to strict regulation on the use of the radioactive tracer FDG. Therefore, the first PEM scanners will be installed in PET centres. Radiology practices that have nuclear medicine facilities will follow later. ‘This is necessary for practical purposes since FDG with a half-life of 110 minutes requires quick action,’ the Medicor regional director explained ‘The later an image is acquired, the longer the scan times become to give the machine sufficient time to compute.’

Complementing the many new methods for breast cancer detection, PEM promises to fill a diagnostic gap.
 

15.06.2011

Read all latest stories

Related articles

Photo

Sectra - Confident and able to count on its photon counting technology

SECure TRAnsmission, the main aim of a spin-off from the Linköping Institute of Technology, was established in 1978. From this beginning, the Swedish firm Sectra has evolved into one of the…

Photo

Tomosynthesis sessions at RSNA 2010

It’s been around for decades, re-emerged in the ’90s and, today, experts see a bright future for tomosynthesis technology. Thus its progress and future developments, plus specialist uses (e.g.…

Photo

Finding early stage cancers that could have been missed

In Europe, 350,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. About 90% of them can be cured if the cancer is detected at a very early stage. To improve early detection almost all European…

Related products

Hologic - I-View 2.0 Contrast Enhanced Imaging

Mammo Workstations

Hologic - I-View 2.0 Contrast Enhanced Imaging

Hologic, Inc.
Hologic - LOCalizer wire-free guidance system

Accessories / Complementary Systems

Hologic - LOCalizer wire-free guidance system

Hologic, Inc.
iCAD - Profound AI Risk

Artificial Intelligence

iCAD - Profound AI Risk

iCad
JVC - CL-S1200

Displays - Mammo

JVC - CL-S1200

JVCKENWOOD Deutschland GmbH
medigration – MammoView

Mammo Workstations

medigration – MammoView

medigration GmbH
RTI Group – Ocean software

Testing Devices

RTI Group – Ocean software

RTI Electronics
Subscribe to Newsletter