The most common type of PET scan, called FDG-PET, appears to lead to the best therapy for patients who have a newer diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer and in those who have undergone treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. FDG-PET can also help identify the best treatment for patients with colorectal cancer, and it can detect small, potentially malignant lung growths called solitary pulmonary nodules, say review authors led by Karen Facey, evidence-based health policy researcher. “For other cancers, PET can often improve the accuracy of detecting a tumour, but it is unclear how this affects a patient’s treatment and ultimately their outcome.”

Facey and colleagues combed through the results of six systematic reviews and 158 primary studies that examined the effect of PET scans on the management of breast, colorectal, head and neck, lung, lymphoma, melanoma, oesophageal and thyroid cancers. For many of the cancers examined in the review, the answers are still inconclusive and require larger, more careful study, the HTA authors found. “It has identified many interesting new studies, but these are difficult to interpret given their different designs, so there’s a real need for larger, better quality studies of this kind to be performed in the U.K.,” she said.

While research continues, physicians are already using combination PET/CT scans to help diagnose and treat cancer patients. Facey and colleagues also reviewed this new technology and say that the PET/CT scans appear to be “slightly more accurate” so far. In September, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, whose members use PET technology, updated its “scope of practice” guidelines to reflect this trend.

MEDICA.de; Source: Health Behavior News Service