FDG-PET scan findings influenced clinicians’ decisions on the treatment plan and care for more than one in three cancer patients, according to a study published online in the March 24 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The study from the National Oncologic PET Registry analyzed data from nearly 23,000 patients representing more than 1,200 facilities that provided positron emission tomography (PET) scans.

The NOPR collected and examined questionnaire data from referring physicians on intended patient management before and after a FDG-PET scan.

The group was “especially surprised by the impact of the PET findings on patients who were originally planned to have a biopsy,” according to NOPR working group co-chair R. Edward Coleman, MD, professor of radiology and chief of the Division of Nuclear Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine and an AMI founding member.  “The procedure was avoided in approximately three-quarters of these patients.”

Sponsored by the Academy of Molecular Imaging (AMI) and managed by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the ACR Imaging Network (ACRIN), the NOPR was launched in May 2006 to provide information that would assist the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in its FDG-PET coverage determination decisions for currently non-covered cancer indications.

After reviewing the published data, Medicare will determine the next steps related to reimbursement for PET scans now only covered through the NOPR, which include those of the ovary, uterus, prostate, pancreas, stomach, kidney and bladder.