The use of combined positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET/CT) can confirm a suspected colorectal cancer recurrence at an early stage, helping significantly in treatment planning and improved targeted patient care, according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA. PET/CT is a type of nuclear medicine imaging that uses traces of radioactive material to diagnose or treat many types of cancers.
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second most common in Europe. "With modern surgical techniques and advanced chemotherapy, growing subsets of patients with colorectal cancer recurrences are being considered for treatment with curative intent. Therefore, accurate re-staging and early detection of recurrence is important," said Rohit Kochhar, MD, lead author of the study.
The study, performed at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, United Kingdom, included 71 patients with suspected colorectal recurrence. Fifty-one patients had a suspected local recurrence based upon conventional CT or MR and 20 patients had a suspected recurrence based upon a carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test with unremarkable conventional imaging.
All 71 patients underwent a PET/CT scan to confirm/disconfirm recurrence. "PET/CT accurately confirmed a recurrence in 40/71 patients. This shows that PET/CT has a definite role in the management of patients with recurrent colorectal cancer in addition to conventional imaging and the CEA test," said Kochhar.