, Volume 9, Issue 8, pp 494-505
Date: 05 Sep 2007

PET-CT in clinical oncology

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Abstract

Anatomic imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have been used for many years in clinical oncology. The emergence of positron emission tomography (PET) more than a decade ago was a major breakthrough in the early diagnosis of malignant lesions, as it was based on tumour metabolism and not on anatomy. The merger of both techniques into one thanks to PETCT cameras has made this technology the most important tool in the management of cancer patients. PET/CT with 18F-FDG is increasingly being used for staging, restaging and treatment monitoring for cancer patients with different types of tumours (lung, breast, colorectal, lymphoma, melanoma, head and neck etc.). At many institutions, PET/CT has replaced separately acquired PET and CT examinations for many oncologic indications. This replacement has occurred despite the fact that only a relatively small number of well designed prospective studies have verified imaging findings against the gold standard of histopathologic tissue evaluation. However, a large number of studies have used acceptable reference standards, such as pathology, imaging and other clinical follow-up findings, for validating PET/CT findings. The impact on the management of patients and the benefits from the information obtained from this anatomo-metabolic procedure justify the term “clinical oncology based on PET-CT” as a new concept to be applied in clinical practice.

Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Roche Farma S.A.