Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer: Dual-Modality PET/CT in Preoperative Staging

PURPOSE: To determine the accuracy of dual-modality positron emission tomographic (PET)–computed tomographic (CT) imaging, as compared with PET alone and CT alone, in the staging of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-seven patients with NSCLC underwent staging with combined fluorine 18 fluorodeoxyglucose PET and CT. CT, PET, and coregistered PET/CT images were evaluated separately by two different physicians for each imaging modality, and disease stage was determined by using TNM and American Joint Committee on Cancer staging systems. Histopathologic results served as the reference standard. The statistical significance of differences among CT, PET, and PET/CT was determined by using the McNemar test.

RESULTS: Overall tumor stage was correctly classified as 0–IV with CT in 19 patients, with PET in 20 patients, and with PET/CT in 26 patients. PET/CT findings when compared with PET findings led to a treatment change for four patients (15%) and when compared with CT findings led to a treatment change for five patients (19%). Differences in the accuracy of overall tumor staging between PET/CT and CT (P = .008) and between PET/CT and PET (P = .031) were significant. Primary tumor stage was correctly determined in more patients with PET/CT than with either PET alone or CT alone. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy of regional lymph node staging, respectively, were 89%, 94%, 89%, 94%, and 93%, with PET/CT; 89%, 89%, 80%, 94%, and 89% with PET; and 70%, 59%, 50%, 77%, and 63% with CT. Fourteen distant metastases were detected in four patients with CT, four were detected in two patients with PET, and 17 were detected in four patients with PET/CT.

CONCLUSION: Use of dual-modality PET/CT significantly increases the number of patients with correctly staged NSCLC and thus has a positive effect on treatment.

© RSNA, 2003

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Article History

Published in print: Nov 2003