What is the utility of FDG PET for disease staging and pretreatment planning of cancer patients?
FDG PET improves the accuracy of tumor staging compared to CT alone and is currently utilized in the initial staging and pretreatment planning workup of patients with cancer. In particular, FDG PET improves N staging (for regional lymph nodes) and M staging (for distant metastatic sites). As a result, changes in patient management occur in up to 40% of patients, most often due to detection of distant metastases. Also, it has generally been reported that the larger the global burden of FDG avid tumor in the body, the worse the clinical outcome.