Comparison between whole-body MRI and Fluorine-18-Fluorodeoxyglucose PET or PET/CT in oncology: a systematic review

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Background. The aim of the article is to systematically review published data about the comparison between positron emission tomography (PET) or PET/computed tomography (PET/CT) using Fluorine-18-Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (WB-MRI) in patients with different tumours.

Methods. A comprehensive literature search of studies published in PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus and Embase databases through April 2012 and regarding the comparison between FDG-PET or PET/CT and WB-MRI in patients with various tumours was carried out.

Results. Forty-four articles comprising 2287 patients were retrieved in full-text version, included and discussed in this systematic review. Several articles evaluated mixed tumours with both diagnostic methods. Concerning the specific tumour types, more evidence exists for lymphomas, bone tumours, head and neck tumours and lung tumours, whereas there is less evidence for other tumour types.

Conclusions. Overall, based on the literature findings, WB-MRI seems to be a valid alternative method compared to PET/CT in oncology. Further larger prospective studies and in particular cost-effectiveness analysis comparing these two whole-body imaging techniques are needed to better assess the role of WB-MRI compared to FDG-PET or PET/ CT in specific tumour types.

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