PET imaging said to be valueless when used with newly diagnosedmelanoma patients

May 2, 2006

Winston-Salem, N.C.--A new study claims that positron emissiontomography (PET) imaging appears to be of little value in theinitial evaluation of patients with newly diagnosed melanoma.

Winston-Salem, N.C.-A new study claims that positron emission tomography (PET) imaging appears to be of little value in the initial evaluation of patients with newly diagnosed melanoma.

The study, conducted at Wake Forest University Medical Center, here, and published in the March issue of the Archives of Surgery, reports that routine PET imaging is not warranted for melanoma patients with clinical stage I or II disease and that PET image should not be considered a substitute for sentinel-node mapping procedures. The study notes, however, that PET imaging may be of value for patients with more advanced forms of the disease.

The researchers studied data on 64 of their patients with T2 to T4 melanomas who had undergone PET as part of their pre-op evaluation. PET did not find any occult distant metastases, although there were false-positive results in two of the patients. The study says the approach was of no use in predicting regional lymph node metastases. Of the 19 patients who had positive lymph nodes, only two - just over 10 percent - were identified on PET.

The concludes that PET did not change clinical management in any of the patients. Although the researchers say PET is a viable approach in certain patients with signs and symptoms of metastases, they conclude that there is no role for PET in “asymptomatic patients who will be evaluated with sentinel-node mapping.”