Imaging tests like PET scans and MRIs are used throughout metastatic breast cancer treatment. Early on, they may be used to see where the cancer has spread and to help with treatment planning. Once treatment begins, imaging tests may be used to help monitor how well your therapy is working. There are also clinical trials studying new methods and uses for imaging tests for people with MBC.
What are cancer imaging tests?
- Imaging (Radiology) Tests for Cancer ACS lists different imaging technologies and explains that imaging tests are used in many different ways for people with cancer. Some of these imaging tests are currently used in clinical practice, others are currently being researched.
Imaging tests currently used for people with MBC
- 2020 NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Metastatic Breast Cancer The National Comprehensive Cancer Network defines how different imaging tests are currently used in metastatic breast cancer beginning on page 16.
- Imaging Techniques for Treatment Evaluation for Metastatic Breast Cancer Researchers looked at the results of several existing studies of imaging scans in MBC, and conducted interviews with patients, doctors, and more, to find out how imaging is used in MBC. Among the results, they learned many patients don’t know they can help choose which scans to use to monitor treatment.
A new use for MRIs: Regular screenings for brain metastases
- Spotting Breast Cancer’s Spread to the Brain before Symptoms Could Improve Survival A recent study found that when MRI scans found brain metastases before they started causing symptoms, people fared better.
Can PET scans guide treatment decisions?
- PET Imaging and Breast Cancer Dr. Mary Gemignani gives an overview of why PET scans are useful for treating MBC.
- PET imaging can Predict Progression-Free Survival on Endocrine Therapy in Patients with ER+ Breast Cancer This journal article from Clinical Cancer Research discusses using PET imaging to help people with ER+ MBC make treatment decisions about types of therapies to use and when to use them.
- PET tracer identifies estrogen receptor expression differences in breast cancer patients Using PET imaging to see which metastatic tumors have hormone receptors and how this information could relate to treatment choices is the topic of this article by ScienceDaily.
Clinical trials studying imaging in MBC
- Clinical trials studying imaging in MBC Metastatic Trial Search has a list of trials on imaging.