Canada wants more research on FDG-PET use for infection imaging

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More clinical studies are needed to support the use of FDG-PET in infection imaging, according to a report from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.

The report compares the safety, performance, cost-effectiveness and clinical impact of FDG-PET with other imaging methods, citing two meta-analyses and seven prospective observational diagnostic studies that demonstrated the clinical efficacy of the technology over other methods.

Because the technology may have wide application in infection, the potential addition to the current patient base could be significant, the report said. At the same time, the operating cost of the technology is relatively high compared with other diagnostic methods.

Another Canadian study estimated the average per-service costs to be between $1,231 and $7,869 (depending on annual throughput), and Alberta and British Columbia charge about $1,250 and $1,500, respectively, per scan for out-of-province residents.

There is no Canadian guidance on the use of FDG-PET in infections at the present time. The agency’s report also said that “although suggestive of relative effectiveness in some indications, there is a lack of high-level evidence regarding the effectiveness of FDGPET across indications and within a range of comparators.”

The agency said that more intensive studies or systematic reviews and analyses of specific indications are needed, as well as evidence for the technology’s potential to alter patient treatment and outcomes, based on the results of the report. Assessments of cost-effectiveness and of the possible impact on resource allocation and wait times are also required, the authors noted.