Evidence-based medicine and clinical fluorodeoxyglucose PET/MRI in oncology

Cancer Imaging. 2015 Nov 17:15:18. doi: 10.1186/s40644-015-0053-1.


Positron Emission Tomography/Magnetic Resonance Imaging (PET/MRI) is a hybrid of two technologies each with its own evidence for clinical effectiveness. This article amalgamates evidence for clinical effectiveness of fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET/CT and MRI as separate modalities with current evidence for hybrid PET/MRI and considers whether such an approach might provide a stronger case for the clinical use of PET/MRI at an earlier stage.Because links between diagnostic accuracy and health outcomes have already been established for FDG-PET/CT in the investigation of suspected residual or recurrent malignancies, evidence showing improved diagnostic performance and therapeutic impact from the use of PET/MRI as an alternative would imply clinical effectiveness of this modality for this application. A meta-analysis of studies comparing FDG-PET/CT to MRI in patients with suspected residual disease or recurrence of tumours indicates complementary roles for these modalities. PET demonstrates greater sensitivity for recurrence within lymph nodes whereas MRI is more effective that PET/CT in the detection of skeletal and hepatic recurrence. A review of studies assessing therapeutic impact of PET/MRI suggests a greater likelihood for change in clinical management when PET/MRI is used for assessment of suspected residual or recurrent disease rather than tumour staging.Supplementing the evidence-base for FDG-PET/MRI with studies that compare the components of this hybrid technology deployed separately indicates that FDG-PET/MRI is likely to be clinical effective for the investigation of patients with a range of suspected residual or recurrent cancers. This indication should therefore be prioritised for further health technology assessment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Multimodal Imaging
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18