, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp 481-498

Performance profile of FDG-PET and PET/CT for cancer screening on the basis of a Japanese Nationwide Survey

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The aim of this study is to survey the situation of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) cancer screening in Japan and to describe its performance profile.


“FDG-PET for cancer screening” was defined as FDG-PET or positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET/CT) scan with or without other tests performed for cancer screening of healthy subjects. We sent questionnaires regarding FDG-PET cancer screening to 99 facilities in which FDG-PET tests were performed during the fiscal year 2005. Replies were obtained from 68 of the 99 facilities, of which 46 facilities performed FDG-PET cancer screening. The total number of subjects who underwent FDG-PET cancer screening was 50 558. From 38 of 46 facilities, reliable results of thorough examinations were obtained for the subjects who were positive by FDG-PET and/or one or more of the combined screening tests was performed and were referred for further evaluation. The total number of subjects in these 38 facilities amounted to 43 996.


A total of 50 558 healthy subjects underwent FDG-PET (including PET/CT) scanning with or without other tests for cancer screening in 46 PET centers during the fiscal year of 2005 in Japan. Thorough examination was indicated for 9.8% of the cases as a result of positive findings suggesting possible cancer. On analyzing 43 996 cases from 38 PET centers from which detailed information was obtained, 500 cases of cancers (1.14%) were found, of which 0.90% were PET positive and 0.24% were PET negative, resulting in the relative sensitivity of PET being 79.0%. Cancers of the thyroid, colon/rectum, lung, and breast were most frequently found (107, 102, 79, and 35 cases, respectively) with high PET sensitivity (88%, 90%, 80%, and 92%). PET showed an overall positive predictive value of 29.0%. PET/CT had a better detection rate, sensitivity, and positive predictive value than dedicated PET (P < 0.01).


We were able to clarify the performance profile of “FDG-PET for cancer screening” on the basis of a Japanese nationwide survey. The number of facilities possessing PET is increasing steadily, highlighting the necessity of evaluating the usefulness of “FDG-PET cancer screening” as soon as possible by undertaking long-term investigations of large series of subjects.