Impact of fluorodeoxyglucose PET on the management of esophageal cancer

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Esophageal cancer is the third most common malignancy of the alimentary tract. The incidence of esophageal cancer has steadily increased over the past three decades. Almost all therapeutic modalities for esophageal cancer are associated with a considerable mortality and morbidity. Consequently, there has been growing concern regarding effective management of esophageal cancer. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18F-FDG PET) is playing an increasing role in the management of esophageal cancer, offering potential advantages in the accuracy of disease assessment at a number of decision points in the management pathway. This review evaluates the critical role of FDG-PET in (i) diagnosis, (ii) preoperative staging, (iii) monitoring of response to neoadjuvant therapy, (iv) assessment of recurrence and (v) prediction of prognosis of esophageal cancer. We have also compared diagnostic performance of FDG-PET and other current technologies such as computed tomography scan and endoscopic ultrasonography based on available evidence.

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