18F-FDG PET evaluation of the response to therapy for lymphoma and for breast, lung, and colorectal carcinoma.
PET is a unique form of diagnostic imaging that observes in vivo biologic changes using radiopharmaceuticals that closely mimic endogenous molecules. (18)F-FDG, which allows the evaluation of glucose metabolism, is the most commonly used tracer in oncology because of the practical half-life of (18)F (110 min), compared with other short-lived positron emitters. (18)F-FDG uptake in tumors is proportional to the glycolytic metabolic rate of viable tumor cells indicating the increased metabolic demand of tumors for glucose. (18)F-FDG PET significantly improves the accuracy of imaging tumors in initial staging, management of recurrent cancer, and monitoring of therapy response. The information provided by this technique is more sensitive and specific than that provided by anatomic imaging modalities. (18)F-FDG PET is particularly superior to CT or MRI in the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of various treatment regimens early during therapy or after therapy. In this review, we discuss the role of (18)F-FDG PET in evaluating the response to therapy and the impact of this information on patient management.