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BACKGROUND - The 18 F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) is used to evaluate suspicious pulmonary lesions due to its diagnostic accuracy. The southeastern United States has a high prevalence of infectious granulomatous lung disease, and the accuracy of FDG-PET may be reduced in this population. We examined the diagnostic accuracy of FDG-PET in patients with known or suspected non-small cell lung cancer treated at our institution.
METHODS - A total of 279 patients, identified through our prospective database, underwent an operation for known or suspected lung cancer. Preoperative FDG-PET in 211 eligible patients was defined by standardized uptake value greater than 2.5 or by description ("moderate" or "intense") as avid. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, likelihood ratios, and decision diagrams were calculated for FDG-PET in all patients and in patients with indeterminate nodules.
RESULTS - In all eligible patients (n=211), sensitivity and specificity of FDG-PET were 92% and 40%, respectively. Positive and negative predictive values were 86% and 55%. Overall FDG-PET accuracy to diagnose lung cancer was 81%. Preoperative positive likelihood ratio for FDG-PET diagnosis of lung cancer in this population was 1.5 compared with previously published values of 7.1. In 113 indeterminate lesions, 65% had lung cancer and the sensitivity and specificity were 89% and 40%, respectively. Twenty-four benign nodules (60%) had false positive FDG-PET scans. Twenty-two of 43 benign nodules (51%) were granulomas.
CONCLUSIONS - In a region with endemic granulomatous diseases, the specificity of FDG-PET for diagnosis of lung cancer was 40%. Clinical decisions and future clinical predictive models for lung cancer must accommodate regional variation of FDG-PET scan results.
Copyright © 2011 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.