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Coming soon: 3-D imaging that flies 'through' and 'around' cancer

at can be used to pinpoint the location of cancer within the body. When PET is used to image cancer, a radiopharmaceutical (such as fluorodeoxyglucose or FDG, which includes both a sugar and a radionuclide) is injected into a patient. Cancer cells metabolize sugar at higher rates than normal cells, and the radiopharmaceutical is drawn in higher concentrations to cancerous areas. The highly sensitive PET scan picks up the metabolic signal of actively growing cancer cells. The CT scan generates a detailed picture of internal anatomy, locating and revealing the size and shape of abnormal cancer growths. When these two results are fused together, the functional data from the PET imaging is correlated with anatomy on the CT images to provide a single detailed and informative image.

Standard 2-D PET and PET/CT images (with FDG) are accurate for evaluating lung and colorectal cancer; however, they lack the anatomic information that can be provided by 3-D images from a multidetector CT scan. Even so, with 3-D CT scans, small and flat lesions in the lungs and colon are difficult to see or characterize, said Quon. "Our study takes this to another level," he noted, indicating that fused PET/CT images with 3-D volume rendering may provide additional beneficial information for image interpretation and create new areas of clinical application. While this technology may become standard over the next three to five years, "it could have exciting applications in cardiovascular imaging, providing 3-D views of blood vessels and possibly identifying individuals at risk for heart disease," he predicted.

In the case of a patient with colorectal cancer--a term used to refer to cancer that develops in the colon or rectum and is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States--the current standard of care is a colonoscopy, a procedure where a long, flexible, lighted tube is inserted into the rectum and guided slowly into the colon. The tube or scope t
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Source:Society of Nuclear Medicine


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