In the initial staging of esophageal cancer, preoperative PET scan may be useful in detecting additional cases of metastatic disease before costly and toxic definitive therapy. Currently, 18F-FDG PET and PET/CT also seem to be the best available tools for neoadjuvant therapy response assessment in esophageal cancer. However, the utility and limitation of 18F-FDG PET/CT in patients with esophageal cancer treated by surgical resection and post operation radiation is not clear.
A research article to be published on April 21, 2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research carried out by Professor Wu from Minnan PET Center and department of nuclear medicine aimed to evaluate the clinical usefulness of 18F-FDG PET/CT in the restaging of esophageal cancer after surgical resection and radiotherapy. Their initial results suggested 18F-FDG PET/CT is might be a highly sensitive diagnosis and accurate whole-body staging of asymptomatic and symptomatic recurrent esophageal cancer. 18F-FDG PET/CT guided- salvage treatment to the early recurrence lesion might improve patient survival in a considerable proportion of patients.