PET for salivary gland cancers

The clinical utility of 18F-FDG PET in evaluating salivary gland malignancies has not been well defined. First we need to know how sensitive and specific PET can be and then a variety of issues regarding its role in staging, restaging and surveillance have to be resolved. The largest study by Hong-Lyel was only in 34 patients. He found that the sensitivity of 18F-FDG PET and CT for detecting primary tumors was 31 of 34 (91.2%) and 27 of 34 (79.4%), respectively. In the other 7 patients, CT was unable to detect definitive primary mass lesions in 5 patients, and lesions in 2 patients appeared to be multiple metastases from unknown primary sites. Otehr studies had a similar number of patients with similar results. There are no comparative studies of CT versus PET. It is also not known whether surveillance is at all helpful in these cancers. Two referenced 2012 studies dealt with PET’s ability to stage the neck or distinguish benign form malignant tumors. These studies can be found in the professional version.

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