Radiation exposure and risk-benefit analysis in cancer screening using FDG-PET: results of a Japanese nationwide survey

Ann Nucl Med. 2011 Nov;25(9):657-66. doi: 10.1007/s12149-011-0511-1. Epub 2011 Jul 1.


Objective: The aim of this study was to estimate radiation exposure and evaluate the risks and benefits of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) in cancer screening.

Methods: A nationwide survey of FDG-PET cancer screening was conducted in 2006, and the results were analyzed with a common index, "extension/shortening of the average life expectancy."

Results: The average estimated effective dose was 4.4 mSv (male 4.7 mSv; female 4.0 mSv) for dedicated PET and 13.5 mSv (male 14.2 mSv; female 12.8 mSv) for PET/computed tomography (CT). The risk-benefit break-even age from the viewpoint of radiation exposure was in the 40s for men and 30s for women for dedicated PET and in the 50s for men and 50s (variable injection dose) or 60s (constant injection dose) for women for PET/CT.

Conclusions: FDG-PET cancer screening is beneficial for examinees above the break-even ages. The risks and benefits should be explained to examinees because of the larger radiation used in cancer FDG-PET screening compared with other X-ray tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Data Collection*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Life Expectancy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / adverse effects*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18