July 23, 2013
New research has concluded that recommending positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) imaging improves staging accuracy and intrathoracic-disease identification, which in turn, leads into an improvement in clinical outcome in these patients.
Yearly, 13% of all newly identified lung cancer patients are diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). Approximately 39% of patients with SCLC are diagnosed with limited-stage disease, which means the cancer is only present in one lung, but may have metastasized to the lymph nodes or tissue between the lungs. These patients are often treated with chemotherapy and definitive radiation therapy. Staging information is essential because of the high propensity for metastatic disease in SCLC, and the identification of metastases can spare patients from the toxicity associated with thoracic radiotherapy. Moreover, in those patients who do receive radiotherapy, knowing the precise level of disease may permit more effective treatment volume delineation.