Facey and colleagues combed through the results of six systematic reviews and 158 primary studies that examined the effect of PET scans on the management of breast, colorectal, head and neck, lung, lymphoma, melanoma, esophageal and thyroid cancers.
For instance, did PET scans diagnose these cancers better than an MRI or CT scan" Could a PET scan give a better idea of a cancers severity or spread" Would they be better than other imaging techniques at detecting the recurrence of a cancer or monitoring a tumors response to treatment"
For many of the cancers examined in the review, the answers are still inconclusive and require larger, more careful study, the HTA authors found.
While research continues, physicians are already using combination PET/CT scans to help diagnose and treat cancer patients. Facey and colleagues also reviewed this new technology and say that the PET/CT scans appear to be slightly more accurate so far.
In September, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, whose members use PET technology, updated its scope of practice guidelines to reflect this trend.
Since many of the state-of-the-art nuclear medicine cameras as well as PET scanners have CT scanners attached to them, performing CT scans becomes one of the nuclear medicine technologists tasks, said Cindi Luckett-Gilbert, the chair of the societys special task force on the scope of practice.
|Contact: Lisa Esposito|
Center for the Advancement of Health