What is the role of PET scanning in the workup of pancreatic cancer?

Updated: Mar 07, 2019
  • Author: Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Answer

PET scanning uses 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) to image the primary tumor and metastatic disease.

PET scanning appears to be especially useful in detecting occult metastatic disease. Its role in pancreatic cancer evaluation management is still under investigation. False-positive PET scans have been reported in pancreatitis.

By itself, PET scanning does not seem to offer additional benefits to high-quality CT scanning. However, studies in which PET scanning was combined with simultaneous CT scanning (PET-CT) suggested that PET-CT scanning is more sensitive than conventional imaging for the detection of pancreatic cancer and that PET-CT–scan findings sometimes change clinical management. [49, 50]

The NCCN guidelines consider PET-CT an evolving technology; its role in the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is not yet established. [2]

Go to Radiologic Diagnosis and Staging of Pancreatic Carcinoma for complete information on this topic.


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