PET shows hypermetabolic activity: What does it all mean?

Posted by oakhillbull @oakhillbull, May 1, 2019

I am new to this site looking for information I received yesterday from my oncologist.
I have been on Ibrance/Letrozole for 3 years 2 months. Have bone Mets spine and ribs. I had a PET scan last week and it showed no hypermetabolic activity. Onocoligist stayed a lot us not known about scarring over. We decided to stay on the Ibrance/letrozole and watch. I don’t understand scarring over. What happens under the scars? Am I cured? I was told when diagnosed I would never be cured. I’m just so confused and today looking for more information when this occurs. Has anyone had this happen to them? Thanks for anything you can tell me.

Hi @oakhillbull and welcome to Connect.
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I can see that you have quite a few questions after your appointment with your oncologist. I'm not a doctor, but I might be able to help explain a few things that you've mentioned.

Regarding metabolic activity.
"A PET scan (positron emission tomography) works to identify areas of hypermetabolic activity anywhere in the body. A radioactive substance is given to the patient and this attaches to glucose, which is attracted to cells that are hypermetabolic. When the scan is done, these areas "light up." Often, but not always, cancer cells fall into this category of being hypermetabolic. In addition, not everything that is hypermetabolic is cancer."

It sounds like there was a significant amount of hypermetabolic activity shown on the PET scan results. The scan cannot differentiate between cancer cells or other situations like infection or inflammation that may be causing this activity. It also sounds like the scar tissue was making it a challenge to get a clear idea of what is going on. But it sounds like something is going on.

Did your oncologist order more tests to investigate?

In reply to @dsowinski "No" + (show)

It sounds like you might have to ask more questions to get a better understanding of what is going on and what is next. Do you have a symptom management nurse that you could call? Or might you have another appointment coming up soon?

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