Surgery Today

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 143–149 | Cite as

Positron emission tomography/computed tomography as a clinical diagnostic tool for anterior mediastinal tumors

  • Tatsuaki WatanabeEmail author
  • Hideo Shimomura
  • Tatsushi Mutoh
  • Ryoko Saito
  • Ryoi Goto
  • Takehiro Yamada
  • Hirotsugu Notsuda
  • Yasushi Matsuda
  • Masafumi Noda
  • Akira Sakurada
  • Yasuyuki Taki
  • Yoshinori Okada
Original Article



The purpose of this study was to assess the usefulness of positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) in the differential diagnosis of anterior mediastinal tumors.


A total of 94 patients with anterior mediastinal masses or nodules (male, n = 41; female, n = 53; age, 17–84 years) were retrospectively evaluated. All patients were evaluated by PET/CT and the masses or nodules were histologically diagnosed in our institution.


Anterior mediastinal masses and nodules were classified into two disease categories: Low (thymic hyperplasia, thymoma, mature teratoma, and MALT lymphoma) and High (thymic carcinoid, thymic cancer, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and malignant germ cell tumors) groups. The sensitivity and specificity of maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) 7.5 for the detection of High group were 77% and 100%, respectively. The SUVmax distributions of the WHO histological thymoma types and Masaoka stage thymomas extensively overlapped. Masaoka stage III thymomas had significantly higher SUVmax than Masaoka stage I thymomas. Regarding the TNM classification, the SUVmax of T3 and T1b thymomas was higher than T1a thymoma.


Although the SUVmax of each disease overlapped, PET/CT findings provided useful information for the differential diagnosis of anterior mediastinal masses.


PET/CT Anterior mediastinal mass Thymoma Malignant lymphoma 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest in association with the present study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tatsuaki Watanabe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hideo Shimomura
    • 2
  • Tatsushi Mutoh
    • 2
  • Ryoko Saito
    • 3
  • Ryoi Goto
    • 2
  • Takehiro Yamada
    • 1
    • 3
  • Hirotsugu Notsuda
    • 1
  • Yasushi Matsuda
    • 1
  • Masafumi Noda
    • 1
  • Akira Sakurada
    • 1
  • Yasuyuki Taki
    • 2
  • Yoshinori Okada
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Thoracic Surgery, Institute of Development, Aging and CancerTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Nuclear Medicine and Radiology, Institute of Development, Aging and CancerTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  3. 3.Department of PathologyTohoku University School of MedicineSendaiJapan

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