Science News
from research organizations

PET Confirmed As Valuable Cancer Diagnostic And Disease-staging Tool

March 28, 2008
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Data by the National Oncologic PET Registry showing that positron emission tomography produced scans revealing disease at a molecular level, which then caused physicians to change treatment plans for more than one-third of participating patients, has corroborated decades of nuclear medicine research.

According to a study of data from the National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR) clinicians changed the intended care of more than one in three cancer patients as the results of FDG-PET scan findings.

There were over 1500 participating facilities that contributed FDG-PET scan data from the nearly 23,000 patients involved in the study. Analysis of registry data reported in the JCO article found that FDG-PET is associated with a 36.5% change in the treatment or no-treatment decision.

SNM, the world's largest molecular imaging and nuclear medicine society, has been a great supporter of the NOPR since it's inception nearly two years ago and is excited to see this promising data released.

The NOPR was launched in May 2006 in response to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) novel "Coverage with Evidence" policy to collect data through a clinical registry to inform the center's FDG-PET coverage determination decisions for currently non-covered cancer indications. Sponsored by the Academy of Molecular Imaging (AMI) and managed by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the ACR Imaging Network (ACRIN), the NOPR is designed to collect questionnaire data from referring physicians on intended patient management before and after a FDG-PET scan.

In response to this positive data, NOPR has formally asked CMS to reconsider the current National Coverage decision on FDG-PET to end the data collection requirements for diagnosis, staging and restaging. CMS will then review the data and issue their decision regarding reimbursement for PET scans covered only through the NOPR.

The authors believe that "the data collected by NOPR fulfils an unmet need with its primary scientific aim of measuring the impact of PET on patient management in a manner that is minimally intrusive to care providers." They also state that "our findings are representative of Medicare patients for whom PET would be ordered if it were covered by CMS for the expanded indications."

FDG-PET, also called PET imaging or PET scan, is a test that images the function of cells to show differences between healthy tissue and diseased tissue. It uses a small amount of a radioactive chemical which is combined with sugar. This combination is called FDG, so the test is sometimes called an FDG-PET scan. It is used to evaluate various neurological and cardiac disorders, as well as for diagnosing, staging, and monitoring the treatment of many different cancers.

This research was published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) on March 24th.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Society of Nuclear Medicine. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Cite This Page:

Society of Nuclear Medicine. "PET Confirmed As Valuable Cancer Diagnostic And Disease-staging Tool." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2008. <>.
Society of Nuclear Medicine. (2008, March 28). PET Confirmed As Valuable Cancer Diagnostic And Disease-staging Tool. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 29, 2017 from
Society of Nuclear Medicine. "PET Confirmed As Valuable Cancer Diagnostic And Disease-staging Tool." ScienceDaily. (accessed April 29, 2017).