Multicentre assessment and monitored use of [18F]FDG-PET in oncology: the Spanish experience

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PurposeThe aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic effectiveness of [18F]FDG-PET in oncological diseases and to assess its clinical utility and impact (on the clinical and therapeutic management of these patients). This health technology assessment was performed in Spain, using the monitored use (MU) procedure.MethodsA multicentre and prospective follow-up study was performed in a non-consecutive sample of oncological patients who were examined with PET and other conventional diagnostic tests. A protocol for this MU method (PET-MU protocol) was developed, including the three forms used to collect all the information. Enrolment of new patients began in June 2002 and continued until August 2004. A descriptive analysis and an evaluation of the diagnostic effectiveness of FDG-PET were performed.ResultsThe study population comprised 2,824 oncological patients (the third form relating to follow-up was completed for only 967 of these patients) from 100 Spanish hospitals and 16 PET centres. Seventy-nine percent of cases met the clinical requirements of the PET-MU protocol. Global diagnostic parameters of PET performance and their 95% CI values were as follows: sensitivity 86% (82-89%), specificity 83% (79-86%), positive and negative predictive values 87% (83-90%) and 82% (77-85%) respectively, diagnostic accuracy 84% (82-87%) and diagnostic odds ratio 28.75 (19.75-41.84). PET detected unsuspected new lesions in 39% of patients and avoided other unnecessary diagnostic techniques and treatments in 69% of cases. In 88% of cases, PET was considered useful by the physicians who asked for the PET tests (it was deemed decisive in 30% and very useful in almost 37%).ConclusionThis PET-MU study has confirmed the high diagnostic effectiveness of FDG-PET for oncological indications and demonstrates that it has a great influence on the clinical and therapeutic management of patients.

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