Brain Tumor Follow-up

Routine follow-up visits and additional imaging tests may be required depending on the stage of the cancer. By comparing the radiopharmaceutical uptake in pre-and posttreatment PET/CT scans, physicians can determine if lesions have fully regressed and if the treatment has been successful.

Many brain tumors have a risk of recurrence, and if the cancer does return, it is important that additional treatment begin immediately. Medical imaging is increasingly utilized to detect recurrent disease.

Anatomical imaging, such as MRI, show changes in the structure of the brain, but fail to clearly differentiate recurrent tumor from scar or postradiation effects. After the completion of radiation therapy, contrast enhancement on CT or MRI in the area of the previous tumor mass may represent viable tumor or could represent radiation necrosis. When there is uptake of the radiopharmaceutical in the lesion it strongly suggests the presence of residual tumor, whereas absence of uptake suggests that necrosis is present.

A PET/CT scan can be used to image tumor response to therapy and to detect recurrence in treated lesions.