Breast Imaging - Original Article

Value of accurate diagnosis for metastatic supraclavicular lymph nodes in breast cancer: assessment with neck US, CT, and 18F-FDG PET/CT


  • Jeeyeon Lee
  • Ho Yong Park
  • Wan Wook Kim
  • Chan Sub Park
  • Ryu Kyung Lee
  • Hye Jung Kim
  • Won Hwa Kim
  • Sang Woo Lee
  • Shin Young Jeong
  • Yee Soo Chae
  • Soo Jung Lee
  • Ji Young Park
  • Jee-Young Park
  • Jin Hyang Jung

Received Date: 09.04.2020 Accepted Date: 15.06.2020 Diagn Interv Radiol 2021;27(3):323-328


Neck ultrasonography (US), computed tomography (CT), and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) are all known to be useful imaging modalities for detecting supraclavicular lymph node (SCN) metastasis in breast cancer. The authors compared the diagnostic values of neck US, CT, and PET/CT in the detection of SCN metastasis in breast cancer.


SCN metastases identified in neck US, CT, or PET/CT during follow-up visits of patients with breast cancer were pathologically confirmed with the use of US-guided fine-needle aspiration cytology. The clinicopathological factors of the patients were analyzed, and the statistical parameters including sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, false-positive and false-negative rates, and accuracy of neck US, CT, and PET/CT were compared.


Among 32 cases of suspicious SCNs, 24 were pathologically confirmed as metastasis of breast cancer. The sensitivity of US + CT was 91.7%, which was the same as that of PET/CT, while the sensitivity rates of US alone and CT alone were 87.5% and 83.3%, respectively. Accuracy was 99.8% in PET/CT alone and 98.1% in US + CT. The false-negative rate was 0.1% in US + PET/CT, while it was 0.2% in PET/CT and US + CT, 0.3% in US alone and 0.4% in CT alone.


PET/CT can be the first choice for detecting SCN metastases in breast cancer. However, if PET/CT is unavailable for any reason, US + CT could be a good second option to avoid false-negative results.