Technology Insight: advances in molecular imaging and an appraisal of PET/CT scanning

Nat Clin Pract Oncol. 2008 Mar;5(3):160-70. doi: 10.1038/ncponc1041.


PET/CT imaging has rapidly emerged as an important imaging tool in oncology. The success of PET/CT imaging is based on several features. First, patients benefit from a comprehensive diagnostic anatomical and functional (molecular) whole-body survey in a single session. Second, PET/CT provides more-accurate diagnostic information than PET or CT alone. Third, PET/CT imaging allows radiation oncologists to use the functional information provided by PET scans for radiation treatment planning. In this Review we discuss the technical features of PET/CT, its economic aspects within the health-care system, and its role in diagnosis, staging, restaging and treatment monitoring as well as radiation planning in patients with cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Monitoring
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography* / statistics & numerical data
  • Positron-Emission Tomography* / trends
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Systems Integration
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed* / statistics & numerical data
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed* / trends


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18