Endoscopic ultrasound - fine needle aspiration of 2-deoxy-2-[18F] fluoro-D-glucose avid lymph nodes seen on positron emission tomography- computed tomography -what looks like cancer may not always be so

Anum Imran Malik, Noreen Akhtar, Asif Loya, Muhammed Aasim Yusuf
Cancer Imaging: the Official Publication of the International Cancer Imaging Society 2014, 14: 27

BACKGROUND: Patients suffering from malignancies often undergo serial positron emission tomography - computed tomography (PET-CT) scans, using 2-deoxy-2-[18F] fluoro-D-glucose (FDG) for diagnosis and follow up. This principle may also be applied to benign conditions as inflammatory cells take up increased amounts of FDG as well. The aim of our study was to retrospectively review the cytological diagnoses made at EUS-FNA of FDG-avid PET-CT lesions in patients with a history of cancer and to determine whether the cause of FDG-avidity was neoplastic or benign.

METHODS: We used the endoscopy database to extract clinical information on all patients with malignancies who underwent EUS-FNA to obtain tissue from FDG-avid nodes seen on PET-CT at our institution from 2009 - 2012. All patients who were referred for EUS-FNA after their scans were included. Those who had contraindications to endoscopic procedures were excluded.

RESULTS: The most common location of positive lymph nodes was the subcarinal region (46%). A definitive diagnosis was obtained in 87.8% cases, of which 51.2% had a diagnosis of malignancy confirmed on cytology, while 36.5% were benign. Out of these, 29% had granulomatous inflammation. In 12.2% of cases no definitive diagnosis was obtained.

CONCLUSION: Our results show that great caution should be exercised when evaluating FDG-avid PET-CT nodes in patients with known malignant disease, as a significant proportion of these lesions may be benign, particularly in geographic locations with a high background prevalence of granulomatous inflammation.

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