Purpose: To examine the value of PET in diagnosis and staging of suspected lung cancer.Methods: 20 (13 male; mean age: 56 yr., range: 22-83 yr.) patients with chest X-ray findings suspicious of malignancy were staged a) "clinically" (X-ray, history/physical examination, lung function), b) by chest CT of thorax/upper abdomen, and c) by whole-body PET (GE Advance, visual analysis). The CT and PET studies were performed within 2 weeks of admission and read blinded to all information except the chest X-ray report. The decision to refer to mediastinoscopy/thoracotomy was made by a tumor board using clinical information, CT and PET findings. In principle, suspected metastatic lesions were biopsied before surgery. The gold standard was histology from biopsy or thoracotomy, or resolution of the X-ray findings and symptoms.Results: One patient was excluded because of uncertain diagnosis. In 3 (15%) patients surgery was avoided mainly because of the PET findings. In one SCLC patient and one lymphoma patient, PET showed extensive disease, which changed the chemotherapy regime. Accuracy was 83% for clinical stage, 79% for CT and 77% for PET. Four (20%) false positive PET findings were caused by granuloma, pneumonia and BOOP. These nodules were only 1 to <3 cm, while malignant nodules were 2-8 cm. There were no false negative PET or CT studies.Conclusion: FDG-PET is valuable in patients suspected for pulmonary malignancy, since thoracotomy was avoided in 15% of patients and in 10% of patients more extensive disease was found which changed the chemotherapy regime.
Clinical Positron Imaging : Official Journal of the Institute for Clinical P.e.t, 2000, Vol 3, Issue 4