[en] Tomography, Emission-Computed ; Solitary Pulmonary Nodule/diagnosis/radionuclide imaging ; Prospective Studies ; Predictive Value of Tests ; Middle Aged ; Male ; Lung Neoplasms/diagnosis/radionuclide imaging ; Humans ; Female ; Diagnosis, Differential ; Confidence Intervals ; Aged ; Aged, 80 and over ; Sensitivity and Specificity
[en] Current noninvasive imaging methods are not sufficiently reliable for accurate detection of malignancy in most solitary pulmonary nodules (SPNs). Positron emission tomography (PET) using 18-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), showing increased FDG uptake and retention in malignant cells, has proved useful to differentiate malignant from benign tissue and could, therefore, contribute to the evaluation of the SPN. We performed a prospective study of 50 patients referred to the Pneumology Department with unclear diagnoses of SPN after conventional radiological screening. PET study was performed on each subject before an invasive procedure was proposed. Thirty three patients had a malignant nodule and 17 had a benign nodule. The mean size of malignant nodule was 3 cm (range 1.5-4.5 cm). All showed a marked increase in 18-FDG uptake. The mean size of benign nodule was 1.8 cm (range 0.5-3.5 cm). PET imaging showed the absence of 18-FDG uptake and correctly identified 15 of 17 benign nodules. There was two false-positive cases with a moderate increase in 18-FDG uptake (1 postprimary tuberculosis; and 1 anthracosilicotic nodule with nonspecific inflammation). At present, the sensitivity and specificity of the method are 100 and 88%, respectively. The positive and negative predictive values of PET imaging for SPNs are 94 and 100%, respectively. Our preliminary results demonstrate that PET-FDG imaging is a noninvasive technique, which appears highly accurate in differentiating malignant SPN from benign SPN.