Background: PET/CT may be more helpful than CT alone for radiation therapy planning, but the added risk due to higher doses of ionizing radiation is unknown. Objective: To estimate the risk of cancer induction and mortality attributable to the [F-18]2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (FDG) PET and CT scans used for radiation therapy planning in children with cancer, and compare to the risks attributable to the cancer treatment. Materials and methods: Organ doses and effective doses were estimated for 40 children (2–18 years old) who had been scanned using PET/CT as part of radiation therapy planning. The risk of inducing secondary cancer was estimated using the models in BEIR VII. The prognosis of an induced cancer was taken into account and the reduction in life expectancy, in terms of life years lost, was estimated for the diagnostics and compared to the life years lost attributable to the therapy. Multivariate linear regression was performed to find predictors for a high contribution to life years lost from the radiation therapy planning diagnostics. Results: The mean contribution from PET to the effective dose from one PET/CT scan was 24% (range: 7–64%). The average proportion of life years lost attributable to the nuclear medicine dose component from one PET/CT scan was 15% (range: 3–41%). The ratio of life years lost from the radiation therapy planning PET/CT scans and that of the cancer treatment was on average 0.02 (range: 0.01–0.09). Female gender was associated with increased life years lost from the scans (P < 0.001). Conclusion: Using FDG-PET/CT instead of CT only when defining the target volumes for radiation therapy of children with cancer does not notably increase the number of life years lost attributable to diagnostic examinations.
- Long-term complications
- Positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT)
- Radiation therapy planning
- Risk estimation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging