Purpose: We provide scientists and clinicians with an introduction to the basic principles and methods of positron emission tomography (PET) and summarize the recent research and clinical applications of PET in the urological field. Specifically, we introduce PET so that the reader can understand and objectively review current and future articles that involve this imaging technology.
Materials and methods: The recent applications of PET in urology in the published literature were searched and reviewed.
Results: In prostate carcinoma preliminary studies using radiotracer 18-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (FDG) demonstrated that PET cannot reliably differentiate between primary prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia, and that PET is not as sensitive as bone scintigraphy for the detection of osseous metastases. However, PET may have a role in the detection of lymph node metastases in patients with prostate specific antigen relapse after primary local therapy. In renal cell carcinoma recent studies have shown the ability of FDG PET to detect primary and metastatic lesions and to monitor response to therapy. In the staging of testicular cancer FDG PET has been used to differentiate viable carcinoma from benign teratomas and/or fibrotic or necrotic changes.
Conclusions: Current developments in PET technology that accurately stage the extent of tumor before surgery as well as monitor effectiveness or ineffectiveness of new or current therapies may make PET a valuable tool in research and in the management of urological diseases.