Oncologic 18F-FDG PET/CT: Referring physicians' point of view

Dimitrios Karantanis, Dimitrios Kalkanis, Martin Allen-Auerbach, Trond Velde Bogsrud, Rathan M. Subramaniam, Adam Danielson, Val J. Lowe, Johannes Czernin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Oncologic 18F-FDG PET/CT is rapidly gaining acceptance in clinical practice. However, the referring physician's attitude toward the usefulness of this diagnostic modality is unknown. This survey was undertaken to collect information regarding the current perspective of referring physicians on oncologic PET/CT. Methods: We conducted a prospective worldwide, Web-based survey of physicians who manage cancer patients. A total of 963 referring physicians completed a 20-question survey focused on their experience with oncologic 18F-FDG PET/CT. Attention was directed toward their confidence about indications, their satisfaction with related educational resources, the quality of interaction with interpreting physicians, and practical problems encountered. The respondents included oncologists (38.5%, n = 371), hematologists (16.4%, n = 158), radiation oncologists (9.0%, n = 87), surgeons (30.3%, n = 292), and other physicians (5.7%, n = 55). Results: Only 25.2% of respondents considered the oncologic 18F-FDG PET/CT indications to be well established and defined. Frequent uncertainty about the need for a PET scan was indicated by 62.3% of the respondents. High cost and overinterpretation of findings were the most commonly reported concerns (47.0% and 40.9%, respectively). The experience and skill level of the interpreting physician was considered very important by 96.8% of the surveyed physicians. Conclusion: Referring physicians expressed considerable uncertainty about the appropriate use of oncologic PET/CT. Additional major concerns are procedure costs and quality of interpretation. The responses suggest a strong need for efforts to educate referring and interpreting physicians about the appropriate use of 18F-FDG PET/CT in oncology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1499-1505
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012


  • Indications
  • Oncology
  • Problems
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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