Background: Gastric cancer is fourth on the incidence list of cancers worldwide with a high disease-related mortality rate. Curation can only be achieved by a radical resection including an adequate lymphadenectomy. However, prognosis remains poor and cancer recurrence rates are high, also due to lymph node metastases. To improve outcome, (neo)adjuvant treatment strategies with chemo- and/or radiotherapy regimes are employed.
Aims: Accurate staging of gastric cancer at primary diagnosis is essential for adequate treatment. In this non-systematic review the role 18-F-Fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) in preoperative staging is investigated. Furthermore, the results of neoadjuvant chemotherapy-induced tumour response monitoring by FDG-PET are discussed.
Results and conclusion: It is concluded that currently FDG-PET has no role in the primary detection of gastric cancer due to its low sensitivity. FDG-PET shows, however, slightly better results in the evaluation of lymph node metastases in gastric cancer compared to CT and could have therefore a role in the preoperative staging. Improvement in accuracy could be achieved by using PET/CT or other PET tracers than FDG, but these modalities need further investigation. FDG-PET, however, adequately detects therapy responders at an early stage following neoadjuvant chemotherapy.