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Benefit of PET or PET/CT in recurrent bowel cancer is not proven
Date:12/10/2012

For patients in whom a recurrence of bowel cancer is suspected, the study data currently available allow no robust conclusions as to the advantages and disadvantages of using positron emission tomography (PET), alone or in combination with computed tomography (CT). This is because no studies have directly compared the benefits of these imaging techniques in recurrent colorectal carcinoma (bowel cancer) with conventional diagnostic techniques. Although PET or PET/CT show a higher diagnostic accuracy, i.e. in certain cases recurrences can be detected more reliably, it is still unclear how this actually affects patient-relevant outcomes such as quality of life. This is the conclusion of the final report of the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) published on 24th October 2012.

More reliable diagnosis ought to improve treatment

Bowel cancer is the second most common malignant tumour in both men and women. Every year, more than 65,000 people are diagnosed with the disease in Germany and more than 25,000 die from it annually. About 80% of the recurrences occur in the first two years after surgery for bowel cancer. After 5 years, virtually no more recurrences are found. These can arise at the original site - the bowel - or as secondary tumours ("metastases"), for example in the liver. Follow-up after surgery should therefore last for 5 years.

Many experts hope that when a recurrence is suspected, an examination using PET or PET/CT alone or in combination with other methods is better able to distinguish between benign and malignant tumours (recurrence diagnostics) and, if applicable, to classify the stage of the latter correctly, i.e. to determine how advanced the cancer is (recurrence staging). This information should enable patients to be given better treatment recommendations.

Benefits for patients crucial

IQWiG therefore searched the international literature for studies which
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Contact: Anna-Sabine Ernst
presse@iqwig.de
49-221-356-850
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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