Although PET imaging has been available for more than two decades, its use has greatly increased lately due to the advent of PET/CT, readily available sources of commercially supplied FDG, and mobile scanners. These features have enabled PET scanning to expand beyond select major university medical centers, with on-site cyclotron facilities to smaller institutions including free- standing children's hospitals. In these settings, imaging is generally limited to FDG, which suffices for most applications, with the majority of studies performed for tumor imaging. FDGI is being used for evaluation of many tumors in children, with its use in lymphoma being the most established. In lymphoma, it has proven quite useful in determining whether active tumor is present in residual masses following treatment, which may otherwise contain only residual fibrous tissue. For brain tumors, FDGI has some relation to tumor grade, although its more important role is distinguishing recurrent or residual tumor from the effects of treatment, particularly radiation necrosis. For neurological evaluation, interictal FDGI is helpful in localizing potential seizure foci for subsequent subdural EEG monitoring. Because of the relatively long uptake time of FDG, true ictal studies cannot be performed with FDG, and these remain within the domain of SPECT imaging of tracers such as Tc-99m HMPAO. Examinations utilizing radiopharmaceuticals other than FDG are significantly more limited in their availability and are limited to PET centers with on-site cyclotrons. However, these additional agents open the door to many additional studies, including more specific tumor-imaging agents of certain tumors such as neuroblastoma. Another neurotransmitter, F-18-fluoro-L-dopa, is of benefit outside of the central nervous system for evaluating infantile hyperinsulism. The use of PET/CT in children is increasing quickly, particularly FDGI imaging of tumors. It is expected that over the next few years, its role will become increasingly better defined.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health