Technology that drives cancer treatment: PET / CT

Technology that drives cancer treatment: PET / CT

PET / CT is widely used in the diagnosis and staging of cancer.

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PET / CT, which is a method that increases success in the fight against cancer in order to identify cancerous tissues, treatment planning and evaluation of the process, is considered as one of the most important technologies for many patients to have a healthy life.



What is PET / CT?

What are the application areas of PET / CT?

What are the features of PET / CT that make the difference?

How is PET / CT operation performed?

Frequently asked questions

What is PET / CT?

Positron emission tomography (PET-CT) technology, combined with computed tomography (CT), is an important technology medical imaging method that enables the diagnosis of many diseases. PET / CT is widely used in the diagnosis and staging of cancer. In addition, its effectiveness is utilized in the diagnosis of "undiagnosable diseases" such as fever of unknown cause, detection of infection foci, detection of living tissue in cardiac patients, and differentiation of Alzheimer's and dementia. In particular, all stages are carried out with a PET / CT device for the initial diagnosis, staging, determination of the prevalence and the correct treatment plan of the cancer. A road map of cancer treatment with PET / CT makes a significant contribution to the fight against the disease.


It is used in Memorial Şişli Hospital, Memorial Bahçelievler Hospital, Memorial Ankara Hospital, Memorial Diyarbakır Hospital and Memorial Health Group Medstar Antalya Hospital.


What are the application areas of PET / CT?

PET / CT, which guides cancer treatment, is used in the following stages of diagnosis and treatment;


It determines the metabolism of the tissue with cancer suspicion.

It reveals whether the masses detected by various imaging methods show cancer metabolism. If the mass is PET / CT positive, this mass consumes too much glucose and the probability of cancer is high.

It is directive in taking biopsy from the correct and least disturbing area of the tissue with cancer suspicion. Cancerous tissue can also damage its own structure due to uncontrolled proliferation. Sufficient cells may not be obtained for diagnosis from tissue fragments taken from the damaged area, PET / CT shows the areas where living cells are concentrated and guides biopsy.

It is a guide in reaching the diagnosis in the fastest way.

What are the features of PET / CT that make the difference?

Evaluation of cancer prevalence: PET / CT technology is successfully used in many types of cancer for the purpose of evaluating (staging) the disease prevalence at the first stage after cancer diagnosis. It is a guide for regional treatments in patients with disease that has spread (metastasis) to the body.

Determination of the treatment approach: On average, after this examination, the treatment approach changes in one out of three patients. Sometimes drug treatment can be performed instead of a heavy surgical application and/or operation may not be required. In some cases, PET / CT shows that there is no spread in the patient who is thought to have distant spread, allowing the decision to remove the cancerous tissue by surgery instead of the drug treatment decision.

Early detection of the benefit of cancer drugs: Cancer drugs are drugs whose side effects should be considered. Using the appropriate medication can prevent the side effects and prevent the disease with the right medication and early intervention to the cancerous tissue. The evaluation to be made with PET / CT after the 1st or 2nd course of treatment gives information about how useful the drug can be in the early period. Thus, the drug can be changed early and a new drug treatment can be started.

Determination of treatment response: With PET / CT, response to cancer drugs can be evaluated by measuring both structural changes and the intensity of cellular activity numerically. After the treatment is completed, the effectiveness of the treatment can be determined by investigating the presence of live cancer cells. PET / CT is the imaging system that shows the earliest response to treatment.

Making beam treatment plan: By mapping the areas of living tumor cells to be given radiation in radiotherapy or radiation therapy with PET / CT, the chance of correct and effective treatment increases. In addition, irradiation to healthy tissues is prevented.

Early detection of recurrent disease: After treatment cures are completed, patients are followed up with methods such as ultrasound and tomography and blood tests. In these methods, in case of doubt, whether living cancer cells reappear or not and their prevalence are determined by PET / CT method.


For PET / CT procedure, the patient needs at least 6 hours of fasting. First, the patient's blood glucose is measured. If the blood sugar is within the desired limits, radioactive material is injected into the vein. Although there are various radioactive materials, the most used one is F-18 Fluorodeoxyglucose. This substance is a sugar molecule bound to a radioactive substance called Flor-18. Following the injection, the patient is kept waiting for an hour to keep the drug in the cancerous tissue in sufficient amount. It is then captured in the PET / CT device. Other materials used in PET / CT are F-18 NaF to visualize bones, Ga-68 PSMA in the investigation of the spread of prostate cancers, and Ga-68 DOTA-TATE used in the investigation of neuroendocrine tumors. Apart from these, there are many radiopharmaceuticals that are not used routinely.


PET / CT can increase the success in the fight against cancer in many stages from the detection of cancerous tissue to the treatment plan, from the evaluation of the treatment success to the planning of the radiation therapy.



What does PET / CT mean?

The most important difference of cancer cells from normal cells is their rapid and uncontrolled proliferation. The energy needs of highly active cells are also higher than normal. When substances such as sugar, protein and some special building blocks used by cancer cells in this process are radioactively labeled and displayed, the location of cancerous tissues can be determined. The PET / CT device operates on the basis of this logic.


What is PET / CT for?

It is the most advanced medical imaging method in the diagnosis and staging of cancer to a great extent.


How long does a PET / CT procedure take?

It takes an average of 20-25 minutes, although it varies according to the area to be shot.

Prepared by Memorial Medical Editorial Board.

27 February 2024

3 June 2021

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