JACR: Radiation oncologists often plan with advanced imaging technologies

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A study published in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology shows that 95 percent of radiation oncologists incorporated advanced imaging technologies, such as MRI, PET, SPECT, 4D CT, functional MRI and MR spectroscopy, into radiation therapy planning.

In the study, 394 radiation oncologists responded to questions regarding the use of advanced imaging technologies, clinical applications and future plans for use. Of respondents, 65 percent were in private practice and 35 percent were in academic practice.

“We found that 95 percent of physicians surveyed were using advanced imaging technologies in their practice, including nearly 50 percent using novel techniques like 4D CT,” said the study's lead author Loren K. Mell, MD, at the department of radiation oncology at the University of California, San Diego.

"FDG-PET and MRI were the most common technologies used, with nearly 75 percent of respondents using one or both," said Mell.

The most common cancers treated using image-guided target delineation were those of the lung (83 percent), central nervous system (79 percent) and head and neck (79 percent).

Among users of advanced imaging technologies, 66 percent planned to increase use; 30 percent of nonusers planned to adopt these technologies in the future, according to the authors.

"Utilization of advanced imaging technologies for target delineation appears to have increased significantly in recent years and the frequency of utilization is expected to increase even further," said Mell.