Serial scintiscanning in breast cancer: The indications and prognostic value
Bone and Bones
Serial scintiscans in 75 women with Stage I and II breast cancer have been reviewed to assess the prognostic value of persistently negative scans. Previous reports have indicated that women who have an abnormal scan at the time of presentation, or who develop an abnormal scan (scan conversion) in the early months after mastectomy have a very poor prognosis. Sixty-nine per cent of patients in this category have died within 5 years of mastectomy. By comparison women whose scintiscan is normal at the time of mastectomy and which remains normal for 2 years after mastectomy have a good prognosis. Only 12% of women who were clinically well with a normal scintiscan at 2 years had died from their disease within 5 years of mastectomy. The yield of serial scintiscanning justifies its use only in patients whose primary tumor is 2 cm diameter or more. The incidence of scan conversion is maximal during the 2 years after mastectomy and the routine use of serial scanning may not be justified beyond that time.