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J Clin Oncol. 2006 Jul 10;24(20):3234-44.

Commonly used imaging techniques for diagnosis and staging.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Radboud University Medical Center, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, the Netherlands.


Imaging plays a vital role in the management of patients with cancer. Not only is it important for diagnosis, indicating sites of abnormality, and guiding biopsies, but it is also crucial in assessing disease extent and thereby determining treatment. In this review, conventional imaging techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography are described, with attention to their mechanisms of action, and their strengths and weaknesses in diagnosis and staging of tumors. New developments are addressed and radiation safety issues are highlighted. In addition, we describe current and expected future uses of imaging techniques in oncology. Given that each technique has its inherent strengths and weaknesses, the combination of the methods will result in improved diagnosis, staging, and treatment prediction and monitoring.

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