The Impact of 18-Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography on the Staging and Management of Primary Rectal Cancer

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Abstract

Purpose:

18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography-computed tomography (FDG PET-CT) has a role in recurrent colorectal cancer. This study was designed to assess the impact of PET-CT on management of primary rectal cancer.

Methods:

Eighty-three patients with rectal cancer underwent PET-CT scan between 2002 and 2005. Referring physicians prospectively recorded stage and management plan after conventional imaging before PET-CT scan, which were compared to subsequent stage and management after PET-CT.

Results:

Staging PET-CT caused a change in stage from conventional imaging in 26 patients (31 percent). Twelve (14 percent) were upstaged (7 change in N stage; 4 change in M stage; 1 change in N and M stage), and 14 (17 percent) were downstaged (10 change in N stage; 3 change in M stage; 1 change in N and M stage). PET-CT scan altered management intent in seven patients (8 percent) (curative to palliative 6 patients; palliative to curative 1 patient). Management was altered in ten patients (12 percent). There was no difference in impact with respect to tumor height.

Conclusions:

PET-CT scan impacts the management of patients with primary rectal cancer and influences staging/therapy in a third of patients and should be a component of rectal cancer workup.

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