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Diagnostic performance of F-18 FDG PET/CT in differentiating autoimmune pancreatitis from pancreatic cancer: a systemic review and meta-analysis.

OBJECTIVES: This study aims to evaluate the utility of F-18 FDG PET/CT in the non-invasive diagnosis of autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) and differentiating it from pancreatic cancer (CaP) based on the amount and pattern of FDG uptake, as well as involvement of extra-pancreatic sites.

METHODS: A systematic search was conducted using PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar. Only those studies that compared the findings of F-18 FDG PET/CT in terms of SUVmax, pattern of FDG uptake and presence of FDG-avid extra-pancreatic sites in both AIP and CaP were included. Studies were qualitatively assessed for risk of bias and publication bias. The diagnostic performance of parameters on PET/CT was examined through pooled sensitivity, specificity, diagnostic odd's ratio (DOR) and summary receiver operator characteristic (SROC) curve analysis.

RESULTS: Six studies were included with a total of 580 patients. 178 patients had AIP (Age 18-90 years, male, M: female, F ratio-8.4:1) and 402 patients had CaP (Age 22-88 years, M:F ratio-1.5:1). Type of AIP was reported in only 3 studies, with the included cases predominantly being type 1 AIP. All studies were retrospective with heterogeneity and a risk on patient selection and index test. The FDG uptake, expressed as SUVmax, was lower in AIP with a weighted mean difference of -3.11 (95% confidence interval, CI: -5.28 to -0.94). To diagnose AIP, the pooled sensitivity, specificity and DOR of diffuse pattern of FDG uptake were 0.59 (95% CI: 0.51-0.66), 0.89 (95% CI: 0.86-0.92) and 21.07 (95% CI: 5.07-88.32), respectively, with an area under curve (AUC) of 0.717 on SROC analysis. The pooled sensitivity, specificity and DOR of FDG-avid extra pancreatic sites were 0.55 (95% CI: 0.45-0.65), 0.58 (95% CI: 0.52-0.64) and 2.33 (95% CI: 1.40-3.89), respectively, with an AUC of 0.632.

CONCLUSION: On F-18 FDG PET/CT, a pancreatic lesion of AIP has a lower SUVmax value than CaP. A diffuse pattern of FDG uptake and presence of an extra-pancreatic FDG-avid site are nearly 21 times and twice more likely in AIP than CaP, respectively.

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