What is it?

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a diagnostic imaging procedure based on the intravenous administration of a small amount of radioactive tracer (radiopharmaceutical) characterized by the emission of particles called positrons. The radiopharmaceutical consists of a radioactive component and a molecule that tracks the metabolic process of interest. PET with [11C]METHIONINE is used for the study of oncological diseases. The radiopharmaceutical is metabolized and accumulates in tumor cells to a greater extent than in nervous tissue in which the accumulation of the radiopharmaceutical is physiologically very low. The 11C emits the radioactive signal, this is detected by the tomograph (PET/TC or PET/RM) and allows to evaluate the presence (or absence) of a lesion with high amino acid metabolism.

When is this exam indicated?

The brain PET with [11C]METHIONINE is mainly used in the post- surgical monitoring and in the differential diagnosis between radionecrosis after radiation or surgical therapy and residual/recurrent disease.  The method is also useful whenever the information obtained with traditional diagnostic examinations (CT and/or MRI, needle biopsy procedures, ect.) has not been sufficient: diagnosis of doubtful encephalic lesions or of a nature to be determined.

  • Oncologic pathology

How is it performed?

The total time of stay of the patient in the department for the examination execution is about 1 hour. Fasting for at least 6 hours before the examination is required. Prior to the beginning of the examination, the patient must present personal clinical documentation (medical records, haematochemical, histological and radiological examinations, in particular MRI and/or CT of the brain) regarding both the pathology under study and any concomitant pathologies; he/she must also inform the doctor of the interval of time elapsed from previous surgery and radiotherapy treatments. If the examination is required, intravenous administration of the tracer will follow.  The waiting time before the start of the examination is 20 minutes. Then the patient is located supine on the bed of the PET/CT or PET/RM tomograph for image acquisition, for 20 minutes, during which he/she must remain absolutely still and maintain calm breathing.  At the end of the PET examination with [11C]METHIONINE the radioactivity of the patient will decrease and disappear in about 40 minutes.


This examination cannot be performed in case of:

  • Pregnancy.

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