Dr. Anthony Fyles
Dr. Anthony Fyles, a radiation oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, is co-principal investigator on study that researchers say met their goal of determining whether adding PET scans detects more extensive disease and influences treatment. (Photo: UHN)

An Ontario clinical study that shows adding PET imaging to conventional CT imaging to stage locally advanced cervix cancer can change treatment means newly diagnosed women in this province may also receive PET imaging.

The findings are published by JAMA Network Open.

"We met our goal of determining whether adding PET detects more extensive disease and influences treatment," say Co-principal investigators, Dr. Anthony Fyles, radiation oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Dr. Lorraine Elit, gynecologic oncologist at Hamilton Health Sciences' Juravinski Cancer Centre.

"The study showed that patients who had PET were twice as likely to have a change in their treatment."

Locally advanced cervix cancer – about 40 per cent to 50 per cent of all cervix cancers – is inoperable, but potentially curable with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Women eligible for PET have involved or suspicious lymph node metastases on CT, in which case PET can show additional nodal disease not seen on CT.

"With PET we always learn more about disease, but does that knowledge change what we do in treating patients?" says Dr. Fyles, who is also Professor, Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto. "In this instance it did and it's extremely gratifying to provide new evidence that changes clinical practice."

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