Evaluation Studies
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Impact of FDG PET for staging of Ewing sarcomas and primitive neuroectodermal tumours.

AIM: High-grade Ewing sarcomas and Primitive neuroectodermal tumours (PNET) make up the tumours of the Ewing family. Our purpose was to evaluate the value of [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) in patients with Ewing tumours.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-four patients who had PET because of a suspected Ewing tumour during a 5-year period were included in this retrospective study. The images of 33 whole-body FDG PET investigations performed in primary or secondary diagnostics were analysed visually and semi-quantitatively by using standardized uptake values (SUVs). In 14 cases, PET was compared to bone scintigraphy regarding bone lesions. The final diagnosis was based on histology, imaging and follow-up.

RESULTS: Histologically, the primary lesions were 10 Ewing sarcoma, 13 PNET and one osteomyelitis. The sensitivity and specificity of an examination-based analysis (presence of Ewing tumour and/or its metastases) were 96 and 78%, respectively. Altogether, 163 focal lesions were evaluated. Sensitivity and specificity regarding individual lesions were 73 and 78%. This lower sensitivity is mainly due to small lesions. In true-positive cases, the mean SUV was 4.54+/-2.79, and the SUVs in two false-positive cases were 4.66 and 1.60. True-positive and false-positive cases could not be differentiated definitively based on SUVs because of overlap and low values in true-positive lesions. In four cases, PET depicted 70 while bone scintigraphy depicted only eight bone metastases.

CONCLUSION: An FDG PET investigation is a valuable method in the case of Ewing tumours. PET is superior to bone scintigraphy in the detection of bone metastases of Ewing tumours. For the depiction of small lesions, mainly represented by pulmonary metastases, PET is less sensitive than helical computed tomography. Determination of the role of whole-body FDG PET in diagnostic algorithm needs further investigation.

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