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Gene. 2012 Nov 1;509(1):173-7. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2012.07.060. Epub 2012 Aug 14.

Confirmation of histology of PET positive lymph nodes recovered by hand-video-assisted thoracoscopy surgery.

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Institute of Oncology, Provincial Hospital affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan 250012, China.


PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography) is an advanced diagnostic imaging device that combines both PET and an X-ray CT. This study evaluates the effects of PET/CT on detecting primary tumors and metastases, and looks at the therapeutic effect of minimally invasive surgery on esophageal cancer patients. Eighty patients with esophageal cancer were enrolled in the study between January, 2004 and December, 2007, who were randomly divided into two groups of 40, one of which was treated with hand-video-assisted thoracoscopy surgery (HVATS) esophagectomy and one of which was treated with conventional surgery. All patients underwent a PET/CT scan 2-3 weeks before their operation, and their cervical, thoracic and upper abdominal lymph nodes were biopsied. All the primary esophageal lesions showed high FDG uptake. The maximum standardized uptake value (SUV) was 3.78-25.64 (11.73±5.32), while the mean SUV was 3.65=16.92 (9.12±4.37). Using 2.5 as the SUV standard, all esophageal lesions were detected by PET/CT image. Of the 80 patients, 53 had lymph nodal metastases, with a total of 142 metastatic lymph nodes, which showed high FDG uptake. The maximum SUV was 2.77-14.63 (7.98±3.25), and the mean SUV was 2.31-12.84 (5.34±3.19). The visual analysis from the PET/CT scan showed a sensitivity of 86.62%, a specificity of 95.85%, a positive predictive value of 93.89%, a negative predictive value of 90.69% and an accuracy of 91.94%. The PET/CT scan showed a high sensitivity and specificity in detecting primary esophageal cancer and lymph nodal metastases. The mean post-surgery life expectancies for patients undergoing HVATS and conventional surgery are 27.93 months and 28.05 months, respectively. The two groups showed no statistically significant difference. We thus conclude that PET/CT combined with HVATS is a new choice for esophageal carcinoma patients.

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