Early experience with PET/CT scan in the evaluation of pediatric abdominal neoplasms

J Pediatr Surg. 2008 Dec;43(12):2186-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2008.08.064.


Purpose: Positron emission tomography/computerized tomography (PET/CT) scan provides both functional and anatomical information in a single diagnostic test. It has the potential to be a valuable tool in the evaluation of pediatric abdominal tumors. The goal of this study is to report our early experience with this technology.

Methods: Children who underwent PET/CT scan in the workup for abdominal neoplasms between July 2005 and January 2008 were identified. Retrospective review of all radiologic studies, operative notes, and pathologic reports was undertaken.

Results: A total of 36 patients were collected. These included Burkitt's lymphoma (8), neuroblastoma (7), rhabdomyosarcoma (6), ovarian tumor (3), Wilms' tumor (2), hepatocellular carcinoma (2), paraganglioma (1), germ cell tumor (1), undifferentiated sarcoma (1), renal primitive neuroectodermal tumor (1), gastrointestinal stromal tumor (1), adrenocortical carcinoma (1), inflammatory pseudotumor (1), and adrenal adenoma (1). All neoplasms were fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) were avid. Our experience identified several potential uses for PET/CT scan in this group of patients. These include (1) preoperative staging, (2) selection of appropriate site for biopsy, (3) identification of occult metastatic disease, (4) follow-up for residual or recurrent disease, and (5) assessment of response to chemotherapy. It can also be valuable when the standard diagnostic studies are equivocal or conflicting.

Conclusions: Preliminary data indicate that PET/CT is a promising tool in the evaluation of pediatric abdominal malignancies. The delineation of the exact role of this diagnostic modality will require additional experience.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Abdominal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Abdominal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Abdominal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Drug Monitoring
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods
  • Neoplasm, Residual
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18