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Use of fused PET/CT images may improve radiation targeting


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Use of fused PET/CT images may improve radiation targeting for lung cancer

Reuters Health

Posting Date: May 25, 2004

Last Updated: 2004-05-25 10:35:17 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Combining FDG-PET and CT images seems to improve radiation targeting for lung cancer, according to a new report.

"Adding the PET data to the analysis changed and improved the treatment plans 58% of the time," lead author Dr. Jeffrey D. Bradley, from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, said in a statement. "PET-CT helped physicians more accurately identify where tumors were in patients, and that's very important to efficacy of treatment and to limiting side effects."

The study involved 26 patients with stage I-III non-small cell lung cancer who underwent sequential CT and FDG-PET. The researchers' findings are published in the April 15th issue of the International Journal of Radiation, Oncology, Biology, Physics.

Combining the PET data altered the disease stage in 8 (26%) of the patients, the researchers note. Two patients were diagnosed with metastatic disease and received palliative radiation therapy. Of the remaining 24 patients, 14 (58%) had their radiation volume altered as a result of the PET data.

Three patients had atelectasis and in all cases PET clearly distinguished the affected areas from actual tumor, the authors state. In 10 patients, PET identified unsuspected nodal disease and in 1 patient PET detected a separate tumor focus.

"Papers like this are intended both to help change the community standard for how radiation treatment protocols are designed and to change insurers' willingness to pay for this new approach," Dr. Bradley said. "This is the next advance in radiology, and it could be very helpful to our patients."

Int J Radiation Oncology Biol Phys 2004;59:78-86

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