PET meets universal cancer screening

September 9, 2008

Ever wonder what could be learned about the incidence of cancer if everyone was scanned?

Ever wonder what could be learned about the incidence of cancer if everyone was scanned?

This may be an outrageous question to pose in the U.S., but not so in Japan, where healthcare consumers have always been fascinated by the diagnostic possibilities of ad¬vanced imaging technology. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare is considering the possibility of universal cancer screening. Survey results from 92 PET and PET/CT imaging services identified verifiable results from 88,224 FDG-PET cancer screenings performed in 2005 and 2006.

By analyzing those cases, Dr. Ryogo Minaminoto and colleagues at four Japanese hospitals and clinics identified 922 cases of previously undetected cancer. The incidence rate was 1.04%. Colon/rectum, thyroid, lung, and breast cancers were the most common metastatic conditions uncovered by the screenings. The sensitivities of the imaging exams were 87%, 89%, 81%, and 88%, respectively.

Minaminoto concluded that the number of PET centers in Japan is growing steadily, highlighting the need to evaluate the usefulness of PET cancer screening.

Results were described in June in a scientific poster displayed at the 2008 SNM conference.

-By James Brice