PET/CT is most often used in oncology for the detection and treatment of cancer, but also can be useful in diagnosing conditions in the brain and heart as well.
- Oncology: PET/CT studies of the entire body are used to evaluate malignant tumors. PET/CT has been used to evaluate a variety of cancers with an 85% to 95% degree of accuracy. The most common oncology applications include lung cancer, lymphoma, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, head and neck tumors, melanoma, and bone and soft tissue sarcoma. Once a tumor has been located, PET/CT is able to distinguish whether it is benign or malignant. Additionally, once a patient has undergone chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery, PET/CT can assess how effective the treatment has been.
- Neurology: The most frequently performed PET study of the brain is a study of glucose metabolism. PET/CT imaging can also be used to detect abnormalities in the brain, making it easier to diagnose neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
- Cardiology: PET can help determine whether it is clinically necessary to perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures such as angiography, angioplasty, bypass surgery, and cardiac transplantation. For cardiology applications, PET/CT scanning is the most accurate noninvasive test to determine the presence of coronary artery disease or the viability of the muscle.