Positron Emission Tomography/ Computed Tomography for Diagnosing, Staging, and Monitoring Treatment Response to Ovarian Cancer

August 6, 2009 | Evidence Reports


This report examines the use of positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) scanning for diagnosis and management of ovarian cancer. The use of PET/CT or PET for screening asymptomatic women for ovarian cancer is beyond the scope of this report. Other diagnostic and imaging technologies are outside the scope of this report, as are any other issues, outcomes, patient categories, or questions about ovarian cancer diagnosis and management not explicitly mentioned in the key questions.

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear imaging modality using radioisotopes that emit positrons. When the emitted positrons collide with electrons, they are annihilated, and give off two very high-energy gamma rays. These gamma rays are emitted in opposite directions and, using the location and timing of the detection of the gamma rays, one can obtain three-dimensional localization of the annihilation event.

Several different radiopharmaceuticals can be used in PET imaging. This assessment focuses exclusively on the tracer fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). FDG is a glucose analog that accumulates in tissue in proportion to the tissue’s metabolic activity. Rapidly dividing tumor cells metabolize large amounts of glucose. Elevated uptake of FDG...

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