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Fluorine-18 deoxyglucose positron emission tomography for the detection of bone metastases in patients with non-small cell lung cancer

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Despite advances in morphological imaging, some patients with lung cancer are found to have non resectable disease at surgery or die of recurrence within a year of surgery. At present, metastatic bone involvement is usually assessed using bone scintigraphy, which has a high sensitivity but a poor specificity. We have attempted to evaluate the utility of the fluorine-18 deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) for the detection of bone metastasis. One hundred and ten consecutive patients with histological diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who underwent both FDG PET and bone scintigraphy were selected for this review. In this group, there were 43 patients with metastatic disease (stage IV). Among these, 21 (19% of total group) had one or several bone metastases confirmed by biopsy (n = 8) or radiographic techniques (n = 13). Radionuclide bone scanning correctly identified 54 out of 89 cases without osseous involvement and 19 out of 21 osseous involvements. On the other hand, FDG PET correctly identified the absence of osseous involvement in 87 out of 89 patients and the presence of bone metastasis in 19 out of 21 patients. Thus using PET there were two false-negative and two false-positive cases. PET and bone scanning had, respectively, an accuracy of 96% and 66% in the evaluation of osseous involvement in patients with NSCLC. In conclusion, our data suggest that whole-body FDG PET may be useful in detecting bone metastases in patients with known NSCLC.

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Received 10 March and in revised form 7 May 1998

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Bury, T., Barreto, A., Daenen, F. et al. Fluorine-18 deoxyglucose positron emission tomography for the detection of bone metastases in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Eur J Nucl Med 25, 1244–1247 (1998).

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