Naviscan study finds PEM Flex detects smaller cancers than MRI

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Naviscan PET Systems, a company specializing in organ specific high-resolution PET scanners, has released new clinical data using the positron emission mammography (PEM) Flex scanner in breast cancer management, at the 2008 Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting in New Orleans, June 14-18. 

The PEM Flex Solo II is a commercially available, FDA-cleared scanner that utilizes PET technology for the breast application, according to the company.

Results presented from an independent study of 136 patients comparing the accuracy of PEM and MRI in the pre-surgical planning of breast cancer patients indicated the PEM technology is more sensitive than MRI in detecting the smallest cancers, Naviscan reported.

The researchers showed that PEM showed 91 percent sensitivity in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) compared to 83 percent with MRI and better sensitivity in cancers less than 5 mm in size. PEM also detected a 2 mm DCIS case shown to be negative on MRI, the San Diego-based company said.

“In our research, PEM accurately detected and characterized the smallest and most difficult to see cancers – specifically DCIS which is often impossible to see with other imaging modalities,” said Kathy Schilling, MD, medical director of the Center for Breast Care in Boca Raton, Fla. “The ability to image and diagnose these early stage cancers provides the potential for cure and will significantly impact breast cancer management.”

Schilling is also a site principal investigator in a 400-patient, multi-center clinical trial comparing PEM and MRI in breast cancer patients to be completed in 2008.