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Semin Nucl Med. 2006 Jul;36(3):248-56.

The role of positron emission tomography in the management of pancreatic cancer.

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  • 1The Institute of Nuclear Medicine, University College London Hospital NHS Trust, UK.


The role of positron emission tomography (PET) and PET/computed tomography (CT) in the assessment of a patient presenting with cancer of the pancreas is discussed in the overall context of the management of this condition. The clinical limitations persist, with many patients presenting late with unresectable disease and poor prospects for novel drug therapies. PET and PET/CT are best at diagnosing and staging but are relatively inefficient in the detection of nodal disease. The detection of late disease manifestations such as metastatic spread is often of little clinical consequence. PET/CT may be considered as a first-line imaging investigation but evidence for this approach needs to accrue. Overall detection sensitivity at diagnosis varies between 90% and 95% and specificity from 82% to 100%, whereas for staging, sensitivity data vary from 61% to 100% and specificity data from 67% to 100%.

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