Additional value of hybrid PET/CT fusion imaging vs. conventional CT scan alone in the staging and management of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma

Nuclear Medicine Review. 2005;8(2):111-5. [Link]

Ambrosini V, Rubello D, Nanni C, Farsad M, Castellucci P, Franchi R, Fabbri M, Rampin L, Crepaldi G, Al-Nahhas A, Fanti S.

Nuclear Medicine Service – PET Unit, Policlinico S. Orsola-Malpighi, Bologna University, Bologna, Italy.


Background: Despite being a relatively rare disease, the incidence of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is expected to increase over the next two decades due to the long time interval elapsing between exposure to causative factors, mainly asbestos, and disease onset. Early disease stages have been reported to benefit from radical surgery. In more advanced disease stages, a multimodality treatment, including various combinations of chemotherapy, external radiotherapy and surgery, may provide some favourable results though the prognosis remains poor. In this regard, an accurate pre-treatment staging plays an important role in offering patients a more appropriate therapeutic planning. In some preliminary studies, (18)F-FDG PET has proven to be able to provide useful information for staging purpose, especially for the detection of metastatic spread to lymph nodes and distant sites.

Materials and Methods: In the present study, we investigated 15 consecutive patients with histologically proven MPM by means of conventional 2-mm thickness whole-body CT scan with and without contrast medium in comparison with wholebody (18)F-FDG PET/CT fusion imaging.

Results: (18)F-FDG PET/CT did not provide additional information about the primary tumour (T) compared to CT scan, but identified a higher number of metastatic mediastinal lymph nodes (N) in 6 patients (40% of cases) and unknown metastatic disease to distant sites (M) in 3 patients (20% of cases). On the basis of PET/CT findings, treatment planning was changed in 5 patients (33.3% of cases).

Conclusions: Our data show that (18)F-FDG PET/CT fusion imaging can play a relevant role in the staging and treatment planning of MPM patients.