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Evaluation of 18F-FDG PET/CT Parameters for Detection of Lymph Node Metastasis in Cutaneous Melanoma

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the value of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG PET/CT) parameters in the detection of regional lymph node (LN) metastasis in patients with cutaneous melanoma.


We evaluated patients with cutaneous melanoma who underwent FDG PET/CT for initial staging or recurrence evaluation. A total of 103 patients were enrolled, and 165 LNs were evaluated. LNs that were confirmed pathologically or by follow-up imaging were included in this study. PET parameters, including maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax), total lesion glycolysis and tumour-to-liver ratio, were used to determine the presence of metastases, and the results were compared with CT-determined LN metastasis. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to determine the optimal cut-off values of the FDG PET parameters.


A total of 93 LNs were malignant, and 84 LNs were smaller than 10 mm. In all 165 LNs, an SUVmax of >2.51 showed a sensitivity of 73.1%, a specificity of 88.9%, and an accuracy of 80.0% in detecting metastatic LNs. CT showed a higher specificity (87.3%) and lower accuracy (65.5%). For non-enlarged regional LNs (<10 mm), an SUVmax cut-off value of 1.4 showed the highest negative predictive value (81.3%). For enlarged LNs (≥10 mm), an SUVmax cut-off value of 2.4 showed the highest sensitivity (90.7%) and accuracy (88.9%) in detecting metastatic LNs.


In patients with cutaneous melanoma, an SUVmax of >2.4 showed a high sensitivity (91%) and accuracy (89%) in detecting metastasis in LNs ≥1 cm, and LNs <1 cm with an SUVmax <1.4 were likely to be benign.

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Correspondence to Arthur Cho.

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Conflict of Interest

Jongtae Cha, Soyoung Kim, Jiyoung Wang, Mijin Yun, and Arthur Cho all declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the principles of the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required.

Informed Consent

The institutional review board approved this retrospective study and the need for informed consent was waived.

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Cha, J., Kim, S., Wang, J. et al. Evaluation of 18F-FDG PET/CT Parameters for Detection of Lymph Node Metastasis in Cutaneous Melanoma. Nucl Med Mol Imaging 52, 39–45 (2018).

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