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Lung Cancer: The Role of Nuclear Imaging With 18F-FDG PET/CT

Linda Giering, PhD

*Medical Writer, Matawan, New Jersey.
Address correspondence to:
Linda Giering, PhD
Email: lindagiering@gmail.com.

Disclosure statement: The author reports having no significant financial or advisory relationships with corporate organizations related to this activity.


Positron emission tomography (PET) with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) integrated with computed tomography (CT), or 18F-FDG PET/CT, is an important part of the diagnostic work-up and management of patients with both non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer.  It provides a more accurate diagnosis than either modality alone, avoiding unnecessary tests and potentially harmful procedures and allowing for better treatment and management decisions to be made. Accurate staging is essential in formulating an optimal management plan for the patient and predicting the prognosis of the disease. Staging of non-small cell and small cell lung cancers incorporates assessment of the primary tumor, regional lymph nodes, and distant metastatic sites. Being a whole-body imaging technique, PET/CT can provide information on loco-regional extent and distant sites in a single noninvasive examination. This article reviews the epidemiology and histopathology of lung cancer and discusses the use of CT, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and 18F-FDG PET/CT in the diagnosis, staging, response to treatment, and management of patients with lung cancer.    

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