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Benefit of PET in patients with head and neck tumors cannot be assessed
Date:4/29/2011

ive substance. However, such changes can have many other causes; for example, metabolic activity is also increased if tissue is inflamed.

With so-called integrated devices (PET/CT) the patient undergoes a CT and PET in one investigation in which he or she is transported through a tube that includes both systems (two detector ring systems). The images produced are fused together in a computer.

Only consequences tangible for the patient are classified as a benefit

As, from a medical point of view, an additional test is only meaningful if it leads to an improvement in treatment, IQWiG primarily assessed whether the potentially greater diagnostic accuracy of PET or PET/CT also has an impact on the success of treatment for a head and neck tumour. In this context, events that had tangible consequences for patients were classified as having a benefit. For example, a benefit exists if mortality rates are lower, patients experience fewer recurrences or have a higher quality of life, or PET better supports decision-making on the choice of correct treatment than do other diagnostic techniques.

In the benefit assessment IQWiG considered studies with or without random allocation of study participants to treatment groups (randomization). However, they identified only one study directly investigating the benefit of PET. This study included a small number of participants and, due to methodological deficits, was susceptible to bias.

Benefit neither proven nor refuted

In a direct comparison, this study investigated a diagnostic-therapeutic strategy with and without PET. However, for the primary outcome of this study (2-year recurrence-free survival) no difference between groups could be demonstrated. However, the number of participants (102) and recurrences experienced (6 with PET and 4 without PET) was very small. On the basis of these study results, a patient-relevant benefit of PET can neither be proven nor re
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Contact: IQWiG
info@iqwig.de
49-022-135-6850
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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