Seeking a home for a PET, part 3: Emerging applications of positron emission tomography imaging in the management of patients with lung cancer

Chest. 2004 Nov;126(5):1656-66. doi: 10.1378/chest.126.5.1656.


Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging is an important tool to refine the diagnosis and staging approach in patients with a possible lung cancer. In addition, other applications of PET imaging are being explored. Data consistently show that the intensity of uptake on a PET scan correlates with the biological aggressiveness of a tumor. PET imaging for restaging after induction therapy does not appear to be accurate enough to guide management. The results of PET imaging late after completion of treatment are highly predictive of future survival, and changes in PET images after only one cycle of chemotherapy are predictive of how a patient will respond to that planned treatment. PET imaging may allow radiotherapy treatment fields to be planned with greater accuracy, although data on how this affects patient outcomes are not yet available. Further technologic improvements in PET scanners are likely to bring further benefits to the management of patients with lung cancer in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography* / methods
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results