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Eur J Nucl Med. 2001 Apr;28(4):483-8.

FDG-PET imaging for the staging and follow-up of small cell lung cancer.

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Division of Nuclear Medicine, Albert Ludwigs University, Medical Center, Freiburg, Germany.


The staging procedures for small cell lung cancer do not differ appreciably from those for other forms of lung cancer. For practical purposes, the TNM stages are usually collapsed into a simple binary classification: limited disease and extensive disease. This study was performed to answer the question of whether fluorine-18 labelled 2-deoxy-2-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) imaging permits appropriate work-up (including both primary and follow-up staging) of patients presenting with small cell lung cancer, as compared with currently recommended staging procedures. Thirty-six FDG-PET examinations were performed in 30 patients with histologically proven small cell lung cancer. Twenty-four patients were examined for primary staging while four were imaged for therapy follow-up only. Two patients underwent both primary staging and up to four examinations for therapy follow-up. Static PET imaging was performed according to a standard protocol. Image reconstruction was based on an ordered subset expectation maximization algorithm including post-injection segmented attenuation correction. Results of FDG-PET were compared with those of the sum of other staging procedures. Identical results from FDG-PET and the sum of the other staging procedures were obtained in 23 of 36 examinations (6x limited disease, 12x extensive disease, 5x no evidence of disease). In contrast to the results of conventional staging, FDG-PET indicated extensive disease resulting in an up-staging in seven patients. In one patient in whom there was no evidence for tumour on conventional investigations following treatment, FDG-PET was suggestive of residual viability of the primary tumour. Furthermore, discordant results were observed in five patients with respect to lung, bone, liver and adrenal gland findings, although in these cases the results did not affect staging as limited or extensive disease. Moreover, FDG-PET appeared to be more sensitive for the detection of metastatic mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes and bone metastases. Finally, all findings considered suspicious for tumour involvement on the other staging procedures were also detected by FDG-PET. It is concluded that FDG-PET has potential for use as a simplified staging tool for small cell lung cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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