JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Dual-time-point 18F-FDG PET for the evaluation of gallbladder carcinoma.

UNLABELLED: Conventional imaging techniques such as ultrasonography, CT, and MRI are able to detect gallbladder abnormalities but are not always able to differentiate a malignancy from other disease processes such as cholecystitis. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of dual-time-point (18)F-FDG PET for differentiating malignant from benign gallbladder disease.

METHODS: The study evaluated 32 patients who were suspected of having gallbladder tumors. (18)F-FDG PET (whole body) was performed at 62 +/- 8 min (early) after (18)F-FDG injection and was repeated 146 +/- 14 min (delayed) after injection only in the abdominal region. We evaluated the (18)F-FDG uptake both visually and semiquantitatively. Semiquantitative analysis using the standardized uptake value (SUV) was performed for both early and delayed images (SUV(early) and SUV(delayed), respectively). The retention index (RI) was calculated according to the equation (SUV(delayed) - SUV(early)) x 100/SUV(early). The tumor-to-liver ratio was also calculated.

RESULTS: The final diagnosis was gallbladder carcinoma in 23 patients and benign disease in 9 patients. For visual analysis of gallbladder carcinoma, delayed (18)F-FDG PET images improved the specificity of diagnosis in 2 patients. When an SUV(early) of 4.5, SUV(delayed) of 2.9, and RI of -8 were chosen as arbitrary cutoffs for differentiating between malignant and benign conditions, sensitivity increased from 82.6% to 95.7% and 100% for delayed imaging and combined early and delayed imaging (i.e., RI), respectively. With the same criteria, specificity decreased from 55.6% to 44.4% for delayed imaging and combined early and delayed imaging, respectively. The specificity of (18)F-FDG PET improved to 80% in the group with a normal level of C-reactive protein (CRP) and decreased to 0% in the group with an elevated CRP level. For gallbladder carcinoma, both SUV and tumor-to-liver ratios derived from delayed images were significantly higher than the ratios derived from early images (P < 0.0001).

CONCLUSION: Delayed (18)F-FDG PET is more helpful than early (18)F-FDG PET for evaluating malignant lesions because of increased lesion uptake and increased lesion-to-background contrast. However, the diagnostic performance of (18)F-FDG PET depends on CRP levels.

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