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Br J Radiol. 2011 Dec;84 Spec No 1:S19-34. doi: 10.1259/bjr/21263014. Epub 2011 Mar 22.

Positron emission tomography imaging approaches for external beam radiation therapies: current status and future developments.

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  • 1Department of Academic Radiation Oncology, The University of Manchester, The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK.


In an era in which it is possible to deliver radiation with high precision, there is a heightened need for enhanced imaging capabilities to improve tumour localisation for diagnostic, planning and delivery purposes. This is necessary to increase the accuracy and overall efficacy of all types of external beam radiotherapy (RT), including particle therapies. Positron emission tomography (PET) has the potential to fulfil this need by imaging fundamental aspects of tumour biology. The key areas in which PET may support the RT process include improving disease diagnosis and staging; assisting tumour volume delineation; defining tumour phenotype or biological tumour volume; assessment of treatment response; and in-beam monitoring of radiation dosimetry. The role of PET and its current developmental status in these key areas are overviewed in this review, highlighting the advantages and drawbacks.

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