Clinical PET/CT variants

In 2011 Graham et al (Graham MM, Badawi RD and Wahl RL, Variations in PET/CT methodology for oncologic imaging at U.S. academic medical centers: an imaging response assessment team survey. J Nucl Med, 2011. 52(2): p. 311-7.) and Beyer et al (Beyer T, Czernin J and Freudenberg LS, Variations in clinical PET/CT operations: results of an international survey of active PET/CT users. J Nucl Med, 2011. 52(2): p. 303-10) published results from surveys among clinical and academic PET/CT users worldwide. For the latter survey responses were collected from centres in the Americas (71%), Europe (22%), Asia-Pacific (6%) and Middle East (1%), with the majority of responding sites representing public health care institutions (60%). About 40% of all sites operated at least 2 PET/CT systems and expressed a high-level of clinical confidence. PET/CT imaging was most frequently used for torso/whole-body oncology (87%), radiation therapy planning (4%), cardiac imaging (4%) and neurologic applications (5%). This survey, however, revealed considerable variability in PET/CT protocols that would limit the validity of PET imaging data from multicentre trials. For example,
  • average fasting prior to a FDG-PET/CT examination was 7±3 h (range: 4-12 h)
  • blood glucose levels were measured at 99% of sites but acceptable maximal glucose levels varied substantially (upper limit of 200 mg/dL at >50% of the institutions)
  • mean FDG activity injected was 390 (110-585) MBq for 3D-PET of a 75 kg patient
  • mean uptake time was 64±14 (20-90) min
  • optimized PET/CT imaging protocols were employed at 51% sites, or less
  • only 62% sites provided a fully integrated PET/CT report.
click to open PDF-Document PET/CT TrainingThese results demonstrate severe and frequent deviations from guidelines recommendations on patient preparation, injected activities and imaging pre-conditions. This underlines the importance of continuous training and standardization efforts for optimizing PET/CT imaging in oncology. Optimized PET/CT imaging in clinical oncology can be supported through experienced and well-trained staff.