Healthcare question

Should conventional staging exams vs. no staging exams be used for patients with clinical stage 3 breast cancer without symptoms suggestive of metastases?


The ECIBC's Guidelines Development Group (GDG) recommends using conventional staging exams with imaging in women with clinical stage 3 breast cancer.

Recommendation strength ­

  Strong recommendation for the intervention

  Moderate certainty of the evidence

Subgroup considerations

The GDG notes that age and presence of comorbidities of the patient may be a consideration in the decision of whether to conduct staging exams with imaging as this may change the choice of treatment.

Research priorities

  1. The GDG suggests research assessing the cause of false positive cases to minimize the number of false positives and the undue stress that this poses on patients with clinical stage 3 breast cancer.
  2. The GDG suggests research on non-ionizing and low-radiation dose alternatives for staging exams using imaging.


The GDG considered the definition of stage groups according to the American Joint Commission on Cancer TNM Anatomic Stage Groups (8th ed.)

Monitoring and evaluation

The GDG suggests monitoring that women with clinical stage 3 breast cancer receive staging exams using imaging.

Supporting documents