Obesity is known to increase breast cancer risk and aggressiveness in postmenopausal luminal breast cancer and obesity-driven dysfunctional metabolic activity in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is considered as one of the principal underlying mechanism. We aimed to investigate the relationship between VAT metabolic activity evaluated by preoperative 18F-FDG PET/CT and axillary lymph node (ALN) metastasis in postmenopausal luminal breast cancer patients. In total, 173 patients were enrolled in study. They all underwent preoperative 18F-FDG PET/CT and surgery. VAT metabolic activity was defined as the maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) of VAT divided by the SUVmax of subcutaneous adipose tissue (V/S ratio). In luminal breast cancer, the patients with ALN metastasis showed significantly higher V/S ratio than the patients without ALN metastasis. Furthermore, V/S ratio was significantly associated with ALN metastasis in luminal breast cancer patients. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, which reflect the systemic inflammation, was significantly higher in ALN metastasis group than the negative ALN metastasis group in luminal breast cancer patients and showed significant positive correlation with V/S ratio. V/S ratio significantly affects the ALN metastasis status in postmenopausal luminal breast cancer patients and it may be useful as a potential biomarker of obesity-driven systemic inflammation associated with tumor aggressiveness.
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