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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 125-132

Role of positron emission tomography/computed tomography in the evaluation of renal cell carcinoma

1 Department of Urology and Renal Transplant, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Department of Urology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarkhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Aneesh Srivastava
Department of Urology and Renal Transplant, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/iju.IJU_268_20

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Introduction: Positron emission tomography (PET) is not a standard recommendation in most of the major guidelines for the evaluation of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Earlier studies evaluating PET scan in patients with RCC have provided discordant results. However, with the advent of newer hybrid PET/computed tomography (CT) scanning systems, this modality has shown increased efficacy in the evaluation of primary renal masses along with the detection of extrarenal metastases, restaging recurrent RCC, and also in monitoring response to targeted therapy. We performed a systematic review of the existing literature on the role of PET scan in the evaluation of RCC. Methodology: We systematically searched the databases of PubMed/Medline, Embase, and Google Scholar to identify studies on the use of PET scan in RCC. Using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis guidelines, 94 full-text articles were selected, of which 54 relevant articles were then reviewed, after a consensus by the authors. Results: Several studies have shown similar sensitivity and specificity of fluoro-2-deoxy-2-d-glucose-PET (FDG-PET) scan as compared to conventional CT scan for the initial diagnosis of RCC, and an improved sensitivity and specificity for the detection of metastases and recurrences following curative therapy. The PET scan may also play a role in predicting the initial tumor biology and pathology and predicting the prognosis as well as the response to therapy. Conclusion: The current guidelines do not recommend PET scan in the staging armamentarium of RCCs. However, FDG-PET scan is as efficacious, if not better than conventional imaging alone, in the evaluation of the primary and metastatic RCC, as well as in evaluating the response to therapy, due to its ability to pick up areas of increased metabolic activity early on. Newer tracers such as Ga68 prostate specific membrane antigen-labeled ligands may help in opening up newer avenues of theragnostics.

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