European Respiratory Journal vol:29 issue:5 pages:995-1002
The aim of the present study was to assess retrospectively the additional value of positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) in the detection of unexpected extrapulmonary lesions in the staging of patients with a malignant pulmonary lesion in comparison with CT and PET used alone. A total of 217 patients with a pathologically proven lung tumour underwent PET/CT. CT, PET and PET/CT were evaluated in the detection of extrapulmonary lesions. These abnormalities were compared with the final diagnosis obtained from the medical records and statistical analysis was carried out. In total, 108 lesions were clinically detected. PET/CT showed a sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values and accuracy of 100, 81, 71, 100 and 87%, respectively, for the detection of extrapulmonary lesions and 92, 98, 89, 98 and 97%, respectively, for the detection of malignant extrapulmonary lesions. PET/CT was significantly better than CT and PET used alone. Conventional staging work-up has a poor sensitivity in detecting second primary cancers or unexpected metastases. The detection of malignant extrapulmonary lesions is necessary for correct tumour staging. By combining both metabolic and anatomical information, positron emission tomography/computed tomography is able to depict more unexpected extrapulmonary lesions than computed tomography and positron emission tomography used alone, and positron emission tomography/computed tomography provides more additional information of malignancy or benignancy of lesions detected with one of the two imaging modalities alone.