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Mol Imaging Biol. 2002 Mar;4(2):185-90.

The impact of 2-deoxy-2[18F] fluoro-D-glucose whole body positron emission tomography for managing patients with melanoma: the referring physician's perspective.

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Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, Ahmanson Biological Imaging Clinic/Nuclear Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.



Whole body positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with 2-deoxy-2[18F]fluoro-D-glucose (FDG) has been used successfully to diagnose and stage melanoma. The impact of FDG-PET, however, on patient stage and management from the referring physicians' perspective is unknown.


A questionnaire was sent to referring physicians to investigate whether and how PET altered clinical decision in treatment of melanoma patients. Surveys were sent to referring physicians of every melanoma patient who had a PET scan performed at UCLA or the Northern California PET Imaging Center (NCPIC). Data were used to evaluate the impact of FDG-PET on clinical management of melanoma patients based on pre-PET and post-PET staging. Management changes were classified as inter-modality if therapy changed from one modality to another or intra-modality if changes were made within a treatment modality.


Fifty-one questionnaires (response rate of 35%) have been received to date. Referring physicians indicated that whole body FDG-PET changed the clinical stage in 15 out of 51 (29%) patients: 10 (20%) were up-staged and five (10%) were down-staged. The PET findings resulted in inter-modality management changes in 15 out of 51 patients (29%). Intra-modality management change occurred in nine patients (18%).


From the referring physicians' perspective, FDG-PET has a major impact and results in management changes in 53% of patients with melanoma.


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