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Limitations in the use of 18F-FDG PET in the pre-operative staging of gastric cancer: A case series

Ernest Fonocho, Nail Aydin, Srini Reddy, Subhasis Misra
International Journal of Surgery Case Reports 2017, 36: 147-150

INTRODUCTION: Positron emission tomography (PET) is a mainstay in the preoperative evaluation of various cancers. In gastric cancer however, its role in the initial staging remains contentious. Presented is a case series of three gastric patients wherein the use of fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) PET/CT (computer tomography) as part of the initial staging was inconsequential to treatment, demonstrating its limited role in the staging of primary gastric cancer.

METHODS: We analyzed retrospective data from 12/1/2010 to 10/31/2016 of patient with gastric cancer whose initial staging included a PET/CT. Only patients 18 years and older with gastric and gastro-oesophageal junction cancers were included. The data was derived from a single institution. Management of patients involved both an academic institution and a community practice.

RESULTS: Of the three cases reported, an FDG-avid mass with minimal FDG uptake was reported in a single case and no FDG-avid lesion was reported in the other two. Neither of the patients underwent an endoscopic ultrasound for lack of availability.

CONCLUSION: While various imaging studies such as endoscopic ultrasound have an established role in the initial staging, the role of FDG-PET is yet to be established and its routine use remains contentious. Based on our clinical experience and review of the literature, we believe FDG-PET/CT imaging is of limited clinical and cost effective value in the initial staging workup of gastric cancer.

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