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PET tracer changes management plan for brain tumor patients
Date:3/1/2012

Reston, Va. (March 1, 2012) Imaging amino acid transporters with positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) has been shown to significantly alter intended management plans for patients with brain tumors, according to research in the March issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. As a result of imaging with the radiopharmaceutical 3,4-dihydroxy-6-F-18-fluoro-L-phenylalanine (F-18-DOPA), physicians changed the intended management plan for 41 percent of patients with brain tumors.

Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is most frequently used to diagnose and monitor patients with brain tumors. After initial treatment, however, the assessment of recurrence by MRI can be difficult since contrast enhancement cannot reliably distinguish tumor recurrence from radiation necrosis. PET/CT imaging provides a highly accurate image that is beneficial for detecting primary and recurrent high- and low-grade brain tumors.

In the study, "Impact of 3,4-Dihydroxy-6-F-18-Fluoro-L-Phenylalanine PET/CT on Managing Patients with Brain Tumors: The Referring Physician's Perspective," referring physicians were given a survey prior to performing PET/CT scans with F-18-DOPA on patients with known or suspected brain tumors. The pre-scan surveys asked about indication, tumor histology or grade, level of suspicion for tumor recurrence and planned management. Soon after the PET/CT scans, the referring physicians were asked to complete a survey to categorize PET findings, level of suspicion for primary or recurrent brain tumors and intended management changes. Six months following the scans, the physicians took another survey dealing with recurrence and survival.

Of the 58 cases that were included in the survey, the clinical suspicion for recurrence increased in 33 percent, remained unchanged in 50 percent and decreased in 17 percent of patients after adding the PET/CT findings to other diagnostic data. As a result, several changes
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Contact: Susan Martonik
smartonik@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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