PET utilization changes colorectal cancer management
The utilization of PET imaging changes disease management for more than half the patients presenting with suspected recurrent colorectal cancer, according to research published in this month’s Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

The Australia-based PET study was conducted at four sites and comprised 191 patients divided into two groups. Group A consisted of symptomatic patients who had residual structural lesions suspicious for recurrent tumor after initial therapy. Group B comprised patients with pulmonary or hepatic metastases that were potentially operable. The researchers compared PET scan results with findings from conventional imaging, and followed participants for 12 months.

Based on the extent and progression of disease revealed by the scans, treating physicians changed the planned management in more than 65 percent of patients in group A and nearly 50 percent in group B as a direct result of the information provided by PET imaging. The researchers also found additional disease sites in 48 percent of group A and 44 percent in group B as a result of PET utilization.

“Designed with an evidence-based approach, this study confirmed the important role PET plays in the decision-making process of patients with colorectal cancer and the impact of PET on both the management and outcome of disease,” said Andrew M. Scott, MD, director of the Centre for PET and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Austin Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. “These results are compelling and indicate that PET should be made more widely available to patients.”