Colorectal cancer recurrences can be detected through the use of combined positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET/CT), according to a study presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society.

“With modern surgical techniques and advanced chemotherapy, growing subsets of patients with colorectal cancer recurrence are being considered for treatment with curative intent,” said Rohit Kochhar, MD, lead author of the study. “Therefore, accurate re-staging and early detection of recurrence is important.”

The study involved 71 patients with suspected colorectal recurrence. Specifically, 51 patients had a suspected local recurrence based on conventional CT or MRI, and 20 patients had a suspected recurrence based on a carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test with unremarkable conventional imaging. All participants underwent PET/CT to confirm or rule out recurrence.

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Researchers found that PET/CT accurately confirmed a recurrence in 40 out of 71 patients. Dr. Kochhar discussed the implications of the findings, stating that the results show that PET/CT has a definite role in the management of patients with recurrent colorectal cancer, along with conventional imaging and the CEA test.