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Tackling pancreatic cancer – PET-PANC study

Radiographer and patient with a scanner

Pancreatic cancer patients could benefit from the results of a major national study in which Paul Strickland Scanner Centre played a key role, according to an NHS Health Technology Assessment that has just been published.

Improved diagnosis and staging

The PET-PANC study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), looked at how PET-CT scanning could improve diagnosis and staging of pancreatic cancer.

“Conventionally many patients will have CT scans. What’s important for us to know is how PET-CT could augment that knowledge,” says our lead consultant for PET-CT, Dr Wai-Lup Wong (pictured). He is one of the top co-authors of a recently published Health Technology Assessment of the study. Dr Bal Sanghera, as centre PET-CT physicist, is another contributor. Dr Wong said: “CT gives anatomical information about changes in organs in the body, whereas PET-CT tells us how it is working. When someone has pancreatic cancer, early diagnosis and knowing precisely where the disease has spread to in the body is key to improving life expectancy.

Dr Wai-Lup Wong Lead Consultant for PET-CT
Dr Wai-Lup Wong Lead Consultant for PET-CT

A PET-CT scan can more accurately diagnose cancer and will tell more accurately where the disease has spread to. Your doctor can then use the information provided by the PET-CT scan to plan the most appropriate treatment for you. The PET-PANC study looked at what benefit a PET-CT scan might have for pancreatic cancer patients who normally have an ultrasound scan and a CT scan, and found that the PET-CT scan is more likely to tell you whether any changes were really down to cancer and more accurately where disease has spread, compared with a CT scan.”

Physics and consultant support

Paul Strickland Scanner Centre played a key role in the study by acting as its national core lab, providing both physics and consultant support. Scans from multiple centres across England were all sent here and were checked for image quality by Dr Wong, who also interpreted them for disease.

The results were then sent to the University of Liverpool for statisticians to analyse. Find out more about the study.

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