According to the press release issued by the Directorate of Press and Public Relations Office of the Near East University, Prof. Dr. F. Suna Kıraç, Head of Department of Nuclear Medicine of NEU, delivered information regarding the features and importance of PET /CT (Positron emission tomography /Computed tomography) imaging system in diagnosing, guiding and following the treatment of cancer diseases.
The early and accurate diagnosis of cancer by using cutting edge technologies of the modern era makes it possible to apply timely and accurate treatment. An integrated PET-CT scan combines images from a positron emission tomography (PET) scan and a computed tomography (CT) scan that performed simultaneously. PET/CT imaging system is the latest and most advanced medical imaging technique used to acquire both functional and anatomical images of tissue and organs simultaneously in the same session. While PET scan generates images that pinpoint the location of abnormal metabolic activity, CT scan generates images that provide excellent anatomical information regarding the size and location of lesions. PET/CT imaging system detects the early onset of the disease before it is evident on other imaging tests.
The use of PET/CT in diagnosis and staging process
The use of the most advanced and accurate techniques promises to reduce excess mortality and morbidity. As the most advanced imaging system, PET/CT has a crucial role in diagnosing and staging and determining the optimal therapeutic management of cancer. Glucose promotes cell growth and like all cells, cancer cells consume glucose as their primary energy source. Compared to normal cells, proliferating cancer cells consume glucose at a vastly higher rate to satisfy their increased nutrient demands. . Increased glycolysis is one of the most distinctive biochemical features of malignant cells. Considering this fact [18F] FDG (radioactive glucose) is used for PET/CT imaging in diagnosing and staging cancer. PET/CT using [18F] FDG is an accurate non-invasive imaging test for the diagnosis and staging of cancer. Like glucose, fluorine 18- FGD ([18F] FDG) (radioactive glucose) is transported into cellsi Cancer cells therefore significantly enhance [18F] FDG uptake compared with normal cells. So PET/CT imaging makes it possible to evaluate the stage of disease (Staging) and determine appropriate treatment before performing surgery, chemotherapy and / or radiotherapy. In some patients, the focus of cancer can’t be detected by other methods. PET/CT imaging system pinpoints the focus of cancer and its location in such patients (Diagnosis).
PET/CT images demonstrate the effectiveness of the treatment
PET/CT images are also used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment and determine the post-treatment procedures. If the respond to the treatment is not sufficiently effective, the therapeutic management will be changed to increase the patient’s chance of recovery. Upon the completion of all therapeutic procedures, PET/CT imaging system is used to evaluate whether cancerous tissue is eradicated. In order to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy, PET/CT controls should be performed at least two weeks, ideally three weeks, following chemotherapy administration. When the treatment protocol is completed, it should be waited at least 4-6 weeks for PET/CT imaging. In patients treated with radiotherapy it is recommended to wait at least 3 months for accurate evaluation of the images. If there is suspicion that cancer recurred in a patient whose treatment completed, PET/CT imaging system is used to assess whether the disease recurred and metastasized (Restaging).
Cancer patients are monitored multidisciplinary at Near East University Hospital
It is outmost importance to monitor patients that diagnosed with cancer. This vital process needs a multidisciplinary approach and collective effort of specialist from radiology, nuclear medicine, surgery, radiation oncology and pathology units that located within the same medical body. Near East University with its high-tech equipped infrastructure and medical staff that specialized in their fields adopts multidisciplinary approach and collective work in providing the safest, the best quality and the most contemporary health services.
PET/CT imaging system, which is available only in Near East University Hospital in Cyprus, helps the protection of normal tissues.
Near East University Hospital is the only hospital in Cyprus that equipped with the latest technological imaging system PET/CT. Equipped with this state-of-the-art technology, Department of Nuclear Medicine ensures early and accurate diagnosis and evaluates therapeutic management for patients. Location and size of malignant cells are detected accurately by PET/CT images. During radiotherapy, radiation is pinpointed to cancerous cells without damaging normal cells around the tumor. Thus, the life quality of the patient is improved by protecting the neighboring organs from the possible adverse effects that associated with radiation. The effectiveness of treatment (medication and radiotherapy) is evaluated by comparing the pre and post treatment images. In order to ensure the reliability of the comparison, it is recommended to perform pre-treatment and post-treatment PET/CT scans at the same medical center.
PET/BT imaging is an extremely reliable method.
Fluorodeoxyglucose [18F] FDG, which is a radiotracer, is administrated to the patient with specific doses. Rays emitted from radiotracer are monitored via PET/CT imaging system. Administration of fluorodeoxyglucose [18F] FDG don’t lead side effects such as allergy, infertility and formation of another tumor. Since [18F] FDG is used as a radiotracer for PET/CT imaging, patient is exposed to radiation. However, the radiation exposure is at the lowest level as the dose is prepared specific to patient’s weight and age. Besides, Fluorodeoxyglucose [18F] FDG has a half-life of approximately 120 minutes and radioactivity renally excreted in 2 hours. It is evident that no radiation remains in body 24 hours after administration.
Radiation exposure during PET/CT imaging is at a negligible level when compared with the contribution that the procedure provides for the diagnosis and treatment
Considering the benefits that PET/CT images provide for the early and accurate diagnosis and therapeutic management of the disease, the amount of the radiation that the patient is exposed is at negligible level. Although PET/CT is an advanced non-invasive technique used safely in all age groups including newborn, due to potential risks of fetal loss, fetal growth retardation and carcinogenesis, PET/CT imaging is generally contraindicated in the pregnant patient. Patient exposed to radiation during PET/CT imaging procedure should avoid contacting with others, particularly with children and pregnant women until the radioactive substance excreted from the body entirely (at least 4 hours, generally 24 hours after administration). Breastfeeding mother, who is administrated a dose of radiotracer for PET/CT imaging, can milk her breast 6 hours after the administration and feed her baby with a feeding bottle. Direct contact and breastfeeding is not recommended due to the potential risk of radiation exposure for the baby.