PET scan tumor metastisis vs an imflammatory response - 1272462

Wed, 01/06/2016 - 18:42

I am 61 yrs old, female. 6 months ago I was given the diagnosis of Stage 4 Metastatic malignancy of unknown etiology most likely uterine. An endometrial biopsy was negative. I opted to utilize palliative care as chemo and radiation would not improve my condition or give me any appreciable length of life. PET imaging showed areas that had "lit up" in both femurs, humerous, jaw bone and sphenoid bone as well as abdomen and pelvis as well as retroperitoneum. My oncologist told me he thought I had 3-4 months left when I asked for an estimate. I have not had any treatment. My symptoms improved after 3-4 weeks and another CT scan done. Impression: Interval resolution of masses in abdomen/pelvis and mediastinal lymph nodes. it is suggestive for complete response (RECIST criteria).
My Question: Does a PET scan detect inflammation that could mimic a tumor that has appeared to spread?
I'm confused since I went from 3-4 months prognosis and on Hospice care to "It might have just been an inflammation in your uterus."
I hope to have a PET scan referral soon. Thank you for any information

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Wow ella that's quite a story. I hope the diagnosis was wrong and there is no cancer. PET scans pick up fast growing cells such as cancer, inflammation and infection. It's not possible to tell them apart in pet or ct scans. A biopsy that retrieves cancer tissue is the only way to know for sure what the nodules are. The tissue is examined under a microscope to detect cancer anything else is a guess.

I hope you are cancer free!



PET scans do not diagnose cancer but show suspicion for. You say the only biopsy done was negative so how did they diagnose you? I'd want another biopsy of something still showing up on any scan. With much of this resolving without treatment, it would be highly unlikely that it's cancer. Cancer doesn't just go away without treatment. I'd get another opinion and biopsy.
Take care, Judy


Thank you for answering my question. I wish I had known that inflammation can show up on a PET scan in addition to cancer. The PET scan results looked so suspicious, consistent with metastases. I would ask about a biopsy if something shows up on a future PET scan. Apparently the mass in my abdomen was so large and wrapped around my ureters, it wasn't clear (or made clear to me) what they would biopsy. At least now I know that the only way to definitively diagnose cancer is through a biopsy. Again, thank you.


I hope your biopsy result will give you please of mind.
Keep us updated.
God bless you for your healthy future.