Background: This study evaluates the clinical value of positron emission tomography (PET) with 2-[F-18] fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) as compared to computed tomography (CT) in patients with suspected recurrent or metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC).
Methods: A retrospective review of the records of 58 patients who had FDG-PET for evaluation of recurrent or advanced primary CRC was performed. FDG-PET results were compared with those of CT and correlated with operative and histopathologic findings, or with clinical course and autopsy reports.
Results: Recurrent or advanced primary CRC was diagnosed in 40 and 11 patients, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of FDG-PET were 91% and 100% for detecting local pelvic recurrence, and 95% and 100% for hepatic metastases. These values were superior to CT, which had sensitivity and specificity of 52% and 80% for detecting pelvic recurrence, and 74% and 85% for hepatic metastases. FDG-PET correctly identified pelvic recurrence in 19 of 21 patients; CT was negative in 6 of these patients and equivocal in 4. FDG-PET was superior to CT in detecting multiple hepatic lesions and influenced clinical management in 10 of 23 (43%) patients.
Conclusion: FDG-PET is more sensitive than CT in the clinical assessment of patients with recurrent or metastatic CRC, and provides an accurate means of selecting appropriate treatment for these patients.