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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2000 Jul;120(1):128-33.

Positron emission tomography with f18-fluorodeoxyglucose in the staging and preoperative evaluation of malignant pleural mesothelioma.

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  • 1Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California/Mount Zion Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, USA.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility of positron emission tomography with F18-fluorodeoxyglucose in the preoperative evaluation and staging of malignant mesothelioma in patients who were candidates for aggressive combined modality therapy.


Eighteen consecutive patients with biopsy-proven malignant mesothelioma underwent positron emission tomographic scanning. The results of positron emission tomographic imaging were compared with results obtained by computed tomography, mediastinoscopy, thoracoscopy, and pathologic examination of surgical specimens. All patients fasted and received an average of 14.5 +/- 2.7 mCi of F18-fluorodeoxyglucose for positron emission tomographic scanning. Attenuation-corrected whole-body and regional emission images of the chest and upper abdomen were acquired and formatted into transaxial, coronal, and sagittal images.


All primary malignant mesotheliomas accumulated F18-fluorodeoxyglucose, and the mean standardized uptake value was 7. 6 (range, 3.33-14.85; n = 9). There were no false-negative results of positron emission tomography. Identification of occult extrathoracic metastases by positron emission tomography was the basis for excluding two patients from surgical therapy. There were two false-positive results of positron emission tomography: increased F18-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake in the contralateral chest that was negative by thoracoscopic biopsy (n = 1) and increased abdominal F18-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake after partial colectomy for diverticular disease (n = 1).


Positron emission tomography can identify malignant pleural mesothelioma and appears to be a useful noninvasive staging modality for patients being considered for aggressive combined modality therapy.

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