PET/CT imaging using combined carbon-11 acetate and FDG performed better than contrast-enhanced CT in diagnosing hepatocellular carcinoma and staging tumors in liver transplant patients and in partial hepatectomy cases, according to a study in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. The dual-tracer PET/CT method identified HCC lesions in 94% of liver transplant patients and in 96% of partial hepatectomy patients. In terms of tumor-nodal-metastasis staging, the dual method showed 91% accuracy for the liver transplant group and 90% for the partial hepatectomy group. Overall, the method demonstrated 97% sensitivity and 92% specificity for patient selection for liver transplantation. "The inclusion of dual-tracer PET/CT in pretransplant workup may warrant serious consideration" in improving the determination of patients who are the most in need of a liver transplant, the researchers said.
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