Intratumoral in vivo staging of breast cancer by multi-tracer PET and advanced analysis

Jennifer Griessinger, Julian Schwab, Qian Chen, Anna Kühn, Jonathan Cotton, Gregory Bowden, Heike Preibsch, Gerald Reischl, Leticia Quintanilla-Martinez, Hidetoshi Mori, An Nguyen Dang, Ursula Kohlhofer, Olulanu H. Aina, Alexander D. Borowsky, Bernd J. Pichler, Robert D. Cardiff, Andreas M. Schmid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The staging and local management of breast cancer involves the evaluation of the extent and completeness of excision of both the invasive carcinoma component and also the intraductal component or ductal carcinoma in situ. When both invasive ductal carcinoma and coincident ductal carcinoma in situ are present, assessment of the extent and localization of both components is required for optimal therapeutic planning. We have used a mouse model of breast cancer to evaluate the feasibility of applying molecular imaging to assess the local status of cancers in vivo. Multi-tracer positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characterize the transition from premalignancy to invasive carcinoma. PET tracers for glucose consumption, membrane synthesis, and neoangiogenesis in combination with a Gaussian mixture model-based analysis reveal image-derived thresholds to separate the different stages within the whole-lesion. Autoradiography, histology, and quantitative image analysis of immunohistochemistry further corroborate our in vivo findings. Finally, clinical data further support our conclusions and demonstrate translational potential. In summary, this preclinical model provides a platform for characterizing multistep tumor progression and provides proof of concept that supports the utilization of advanced protocols for PET/MRI in clinical breast cancer imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number41
Journalnpj Breast Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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