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PET/CT scan goes three-dimensional

Aug 2006
Doctors have several methods for detecting cancer in their patients, including PET and CT scans, PET/CT scans and three-dimensional CT scans. Although the technology enables physicians to pick up a metabolic signal from actively growing cancer cells, to generate a detailed image of internal anatomy, and to locate and reveal the size and shape of abnormal cancer growths, even the most sophisticated imaging technology may miss small flat lesions in the lungs and colon.

As reported in the July issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, researchers at Stanford University in California reconstructed PET and CT images to create 3-D rendered PET/CT images. The technological advance creates the effect of flying through the body and around cancerous tumors.

The investigators compared the findings of the 3-D rendered images with those gained via conventional methods for 24 cancer patients. The 3-D technology detected all of the lesions revealed in the original 2-D images and one additional suggestive lesion that had not been detected initially.

Information gained with 3-D PET/CT scans may help physicians to detect and characterize cancer, decrease the necessity for invasive procedures, and provide guidance for biopsies and surgery

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