Early Detection Of Recurrent Thyroid Disease With PET CT Can Significantly Improve Long-Term Outcome

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In the past few decades, thyroid cancer has been diagnosed earlier, providing an opportunity for treatment before the cancer has spread beyond the thyroid and improving survival rates. Proper therapy has the potential to reduce recurrence and mortality rates. Although the long-term prognosis for survival with Well Differentiated Thyroid Cancer (WDTC) is generally quite good, tumor recurrence is common, affecting 20% to 35% of patients with the disease. Recurrence can occur any time, even decades after initial therapy.

As with delaying the initial diagnosis, delaying the detection of persistent or recurrent thyroid cancer can increase mortality rates significantly. The early detection and treatment are important goals in improving long-term outcome.

PET CT is a powerful tool for diagnosing and determining the stages of many types of cancer, including thyroid. Researchers sought to determine the usefulness of PET/CT in detecting recurrent thyroid disease in patients who had a negative thyroid scan, but raised serum thyroglobulin levels.

The researchers found that for 52.2% patients the PET/CT detected recurrent thyroid lesions or distant metastases that had not been seen on radioiodine studies. There was also a statistically significant difference in the serum thyroglobulin levels between patients who were found to have positive lesions and those who did not have lesions.

According to a presentation that will be given in September 2014 at the Royal College of Radiologists Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held in London, UK the PET/CT imaging can accurately detect recurrent thyroid disease that was not found with radioiodine scans.

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