Positron emission tomography is a functional diagnostic imaging technique, which can accurately measure in vivo distribution of a radiopharmaceutical with high resolution. The ability of positron emission tomography to study various biologic processes opens up new possibilities for both research and day-to-day clinical use. Positron emission tomography has progressed rapidly from being a research technique in laboratories to a routine clinical imaging modality becoming part of armamentarium for the medical profession. The most widely used radiotracer in positron emission tomography is 18F-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG), which is an analog of glucose. FDG uptake in cells is directly proportional to glucose metabolism of cells. Since glucose metabolism is increased many fold in malignant tumors, positron emission tomography has a high sensitivity and high negative predictive value. Positron emission tomography with FDG is now the standard of care in initial staging, monitoring the response to therapy and management of lung cancer, colorectal cancer, lymphoma, melanoma, esophageal cancer, head and neck cancer and breast cancer. The aim of this article is to review the clinical applications of positron emission tomography in oncology.
- Positron emission tomography