The most common reason for cancer recurrence is failure to detect and remove cancer cells in the tumor area, most frequently occurring after previous surgical resections. These tumors are not visibly discernable, nor are they palpable. The PET isotope, FDG-18, is most often used to localize these occult tumor cells. FDG-18 accumulates in these cells at a targeted rate of at least 1.5 times faster than healthy tissue, due to the metabolic uptake of this isotope at the tumor site.
PET technology is designed to permit surgeons to intra-operatively localize these tumors by measuring the metabolic uptake of this isotope. Cases where PET probe-guided surgery may be applicable include lymphoma, thyroid cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and head & neck cancer.
“PET Probe-Guided Surgery: Applications and Clinical Protocol” Seza A. Gulec, Erica Hoenie, Richard Hostetter, and Douglas Schwartzentruber (June 2007)