Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography 2014 Oct 28 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Frauenfelder T, Kestenholz P, Hunziker R, Nguyen TD, Fries M, Veir Haibach P, Husmann L, Stahel R, Weder W, Opitz I.



The objective of this study was to determine the diagnostic value of computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET)/CT for staging of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) in patients undergoing induction chemotherapy.


Sixty-two patients (median age, 61 years; female: n = 9) with proven MPM underwent CT after induction chemotherapy. Of these, 28 underwent additional PET/CT. Extrapleural pneumonectomy was performed for pathological TNM staging. Clinical TNM stage was assessed by 3 independent readers. Relative and absolute underestimation and overestimation were compared with pathological tumor stage. Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for differentiation between stages T2 and T3 were assessed. Interobserver agreement between the readers was analyzed (κ).


Positron emission tomography/CT and CT underestimated T stage in up to 30% of the cases. Positron emission tomography/CT had a higher accuracy for tumor extent compared with CT (PET/CT: 0.92; CT: 0.84). The accuracy for nodal staging was higher for CT than for PET/CT (PET/CT: 0.78; CT: 0.87). Concerning International Mesothelioma Interest Group classification, PET/CT improved the accuracy of preoperative staging compared with CT (PET/CT: 0.91; CT: 0.82). Interobserver agreement was moderate for CT (0.48-0.62) and good for PET/CT (0.64-0.83) for T staging. For nodal staging, interobserver agreement was fair to moderate for CT and good for PET/CT (CT: 0.37-0.51; PET/CT: 0.73-0.76).


Positron emission tomography/CT is more accurate and has a lower interobserver variability for clinical intrathoracic staging of MPM compared with CT. Nevertheless PET/CT underestimated tumor stage in a substantial number of cases, showing the need for a more accurate imaging technology or approach.