Positron emission tomography for urological tumours


S.F. Hain, The Clinical PET Centre, Lower Ground Floor, Lambeth Wing, St. Thomas’ Hospital, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7EH, UK.
e-mail: sharon.hain@kcl.ac.uk


For urological tumours, positron emission tomography (PET) is currently most useful in testicular cancer. In patients with residual masses or raised marker levels after treatment, PET is both sensitive and specific for detecting recurrent disease, at suspected and unsuspected sites. Although fewer studies are available it also appears to be useful for staging at diagnosis, although this requires further investigation. Prostate cancer imaging has been more variable, with studies showing that PET cannot reliably differentiate between tumour and hypertrophy. It is not as good as a bone scan for defining bone metastases. In renal cancer, PET can be used to define the primary tumour, providing better staging of local recurrence than computed tomography (CT), and to define metastatic disease. There are few studies in bladder cancer, and despite excretion of the tracer via the bladder in early studies, it has better results than CT or magnetic resonance imaging for local staging; again it can detect metastases. Overall, the place of PET in urological tumours is developing, with the strongest areas undoubtedly being testicular and renal cancer. Tracers other than fluorodeoxyglucose are being examined and are providing further information.