Integrated Imaging in Gastrointestinal Oncology: PET/CT Imaging

  • Thomas F. Hany


The basic principle of positron emission tomography (PET) is the use of positron-emitting-isotope-labeled pharmaceuticals that are integrated into a metabolic pathway. Positron-emitting isotopes are characterized by a beta plus-decay, in which a positron is emitted. This positron collides with and annihilates any of the many shell electrons in the neighboring atoms, thereby producing two 511-keV gamma rays (photons) which are detected in coincidence by the PET scanner. The additional integration of a computed tomography scanner (PET/CT) allows the acquisition of PET and CT images of the patient in the same imaging session. The clinically and most widely evaluated positron-emitting isotope labeled pharmaceutical is fluorine-18 fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG). This glucose analogue is transported into the cell by specific transporters and phosphorylated by hexokinase to FDG-6-phosphate. As FDG-6-phosphate is inert to further metabolic processing or to transmembrane back-transport outside the cell, it accumulates within the cells. The physical half-life of FDG is around 110 min.


Positron Emission Tomography Positron Emission Tomography Imaging Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor Gallbladder Cancer Integrate Image 
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© Springer Verlag Italia 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas F. Hany
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Clinic and Policlinic of Nuclear MedicineUniversity Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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