Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. To successfully fight the disease, doctors use a variety of techniques to diagnose the cancer and determine the extent of its spread throughout the body. When using positron emission tomography (PET) as a diagnostic tool, 18F-FDG has proven to be a reliable and accurate tracer, but false positives have been noted in areas of inflammation. Recently, German researchers conducted a study comparing the results of 18F-FDG PET and 18F-FLT PET and found the latter to be a more precise indicator for diagnosing unclear lung lesions.
The study, published in the September 2003 issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, included examinations of 26 patients with pulmonary nodules revealed on chest CT. Subsequent biopsies confirmed that eighteen of the patients involved had malignant tumors, and eight had benign tumors. Using standardized uptake value (SUV), tumoral uptake was calculated for both 18F-FDG PET and 18F-FLT PET.
Results revealed 18F-FLT SUV correlated better than18F-FDG SUV with the proliferation index. This confirms the theory that 18F-FLT, a tracer specifically designed to reveal the presence of malignant tumors, is better at differentiating cancerous growths from other lesions. While the results show promise for the use of 18F-FLT, they do not indicate 18F-FLT can replace 18F-FDG, which is quite accurate in staging tumors.
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