Metastatic tumors develop when cancer cells break off from a primary tumor and enter the bloodstream. These cells can reach nearly all tissues in the body, and bones are a common place for these cancer cells to settle and start growing. More than 90% of all these metastatic lesions in bone are caused by a small number of primary tumors, including breast, lung, kidney, prostate, and thyroid.
It is extremely important in the diagnosis and staging of these cancers to determine the true extent of the disease and whether the tumor has spread to the skeleton. The patient’s prognosis, or the outlook for recovery, depends upon determining the stage of the cancer and the best treatment options. For early cancer, surgery may be all that is needed, and so it is critical to exclude the presence of any bone metastases before the potentially curative surgery is performed. For cancer that is more advanced, chemical or radiation therapy may be needed as well to increase the chance of a cure or delay the cancer’s progression. After treatment is complete, it is important to know if any active cancer cells remain in the body. This is called restaging.
A whole-body sodium fluoride F 18 (18F NaF) bone PET/CT scan can be performed before treatment to help the physician determine the most appropriate treatment, and after treatment to help determine the effectiveness of the treatment, to image the tumor’s response to therapy and to detect recurrence in treated lesions.
Sodium fluoride F 18 (18F NaF) bone PET/CT imaging is a noninvasive test that physicians utilize to stage the body for the presence or absence of active bone tumors, localize the tumors, assess the tumors’ response to treatment and detect recurrence in treated lesions.
PET/CT Utilization in Metastatic Bone Disease
- Identifying skeletal metastases in patients with a range of primary tumors
- Performing initial evaluation and staging of metastatic disease in the skeleton
- Localizing metastatic bone disease
- Characterizing benign or malignant lesions in patients at risk for bone metastases
- Assessing response of skeletal metastases to therapy
- Detecting skeletal metastases during follow-up
- Detecting primary tumors of the bone and identifying sites of disease
- Assessing response to therapy in primary bone tumors
- Detecting recurrent disease in primary bone tumors
Source: Grant. 2008. Skeletal PET with 18F-Fluoride: Applying New Technology to an Old Tracer JNM 2008; 49(1):68-78