University of Pittsburgh research shows combined PET/CT finds cancerous lesions standard CT misses

LOS ANGELES, June 18 If more doctors had access to a combined PET/CT scanner to examine patients with ovarian or cervical carcinomas, they would likely catch cancerous lesions that would not be found by CT (computed tomography) or ultrasound, according to research presented today by doctors from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

In two studies presented during todays poster session at the Society of Nuclear Medicine in Los Angeles, Todd Blodgett, M.D., a fellow in the department of radiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, found the advanced scanners identified additional lesions in 80 percent of a group of patients with ovarian carcinoma and in 45 percent of a group of patients with cervical carcinoma. Those lesions did not show on scans of the same patients taken with conventional CT or ultrasound, the tools used at most hospitals to follow patients with these types of cancers.

We found the combined PET/CT is a very important machine for staging and re-staging patients with these types of cancers. These cancers are notoriously difficult to pinpoint in the body because they are in relatively small areas packed with many different types of tissue, said Dr. Blodgett. It is difficult, using conventional CT or ultrasound, to find all the lesions or to identify their precise locations.

CT and ultrasound are the most frequently used imaging methods for these cancers, but do not provide images with the necessary combination of clear structural definition and metabolic activity that is achieved with the PET/CT, said Dr. Blodgett.

The PET/CT, developed jointly by David Townsend, Ph.D., senior PET physicist, and professor of radiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Ronald Nutt, Ph.D., president, CPS Innovations, Knoxville, Tenn., works by combining PET (positron emission tomography) technology, in which the scanner maps cellular metabolism of glucose, and CT, which builds a clear cross sect

Contact: Craig Dunhoff
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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