Prospective investigation of positron emission tomography in lung nodules

Val J. Lowe, J. W. Fletcher, Lisa Gobar, Michael Lawson, Peter Kirchner, Peter Valk, John Karis, Karl Hubner, Dominique Delbeke, Elizabeth V. Heiberg, Edward F. Patz, R. Edward Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

489 Scopus citations


Purpose: Solitary pulmonary nodules (SPNs) are commonly identified chest radiographs and computed tomography (CT). Biopsies are often performed to evaluate the nodules further. An accurate, noninvasive diagnostic test could avoid the morbidity and costs of invasive tissue sampling. We evaluated the ability of fluorine-18 deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) to discriminate between benign and malignant pulmonary nodules in a prospective, multicenter trial. Methods: Eighty-nine patients who had newly identified indeterminate SPNs on chest radiographs and CT were evaluated with FDG-PET. PET data were analyzed semiquantitatively calculating standardized uptake values (SUVs) as on index of FDG accumulation and also o visual scoring method. PET results were compared with pathology results. Results: Sixty SPNs were malignant and 29 were benign. Using SUV data, PET had an overall sensitivity and specificity for detection of malignant nodules of 92% and 90%. Visual analysis provided o slightly higher, but not statistically significant, sensitivity of 98% and lower specificity of 69%. For SPNs ≤ 1.5 cm (34 of 89), the sensitivity and specificity of SUV and visual analysis were 80% and 95% and 100% and 74%, respectively. Conclusion: FDG-PET can accurately characterize indeterminate SPNs. PET imaging provides o noninvasive method to evaluate indeterminate SPNs, which can reduce the need for invasive tissue biopsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1084
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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