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[Positron emission tomography with [18 F]-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (18FDG-PET) in diagnosis of retroperitoneal lymph node metastases of testicular tumors].

Der Urologe. Ausg. A 1998 November
In 1991, this prospectively designed study was started to assess the potentials of positron emission tomography with 18FDG in the diagnostic workup for the detection of lymph node metastases in testicular cancer, since there were no data available concerning this subject at this time. In 54 patients (27 patients with pure seminoma, 27 patients with non-seminomatous tumors) 18FDG-PET results were compared with the findings obtained with abdominal computed tomography, serum level of tumor markers (AFP, beta-HCG), and the histopathological findings after primary or post-chemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. In 21 patients with pure seminoma (clinical stage I according to the Lugano classification) 18FDG-PET results were identical with those of the abdominal computed tomography, so PET does not add relevant informations in this group of patients. In 7 patients presenting with non-seminomatous testicular cancer (stage I), PET was not able to detect the existing micrometastases in 4 patients. In 1/7 case PET examination showed a suspicious focal lesion, this lymph node had 2 micrometastases within inflammatory changes. In 1/7 patient 18FDG-PET definitely revealed metastatic lesions, while the CT scans where judged to be unobtrusive and tumor marker levels were within the normal range. In the 4 patients with pure seminomas stage II B and II C (N = 6), that have undergone retroperitoneal lymph node dissection following chemotherapy, 18FDG-PET correctly predicted absence of tumor in 3 out of these 4, and in 1/4 patient the benign nature of a persistent large tumor after two cycles of polychemotherapy was correctly identified which eventually turned out to be a ganglioneuroma. This lesion falsely was classified as malignant tumor with abdominal computed tomography, and in 2/4 patients post-chemotherapy residual retroperitoneal lesions in the CT scans could not be assessed exactly whether or not malignant tumor was present. In 20 patients presenting with non-seminomatous testicular cancer (stage II and III) 18FDG-PET was able to demonstrate therapeutic effects of chemotherapy by showing decreasing tracer activity in those regions, that had hypermetabolic foci prior to chemotherapy. It became evident in testicular cancer that there is a single entity which is not characterized by increased glucose metabolism, the mature teratoma. In lesions detected by abdominal computed tomography which do not present increased 18FDG uptake, mature teratoma as well as scar/necrosis or rare other tumors with normal glucose metabolism can be supposed, but additional characteristics based on different 18FDG uptake were not observed. In 1/20 case post-chemotherapy PET scan detected a hypermetabolic lesion, which was suspicious for metastatic spread, but in the histopathological examination this lesion was identified as inflammatory tissue reaction. Based on the data reported here in 18FDG-PET cannot be considered a standard diagnostic tool in the staging examinations in testicular cancer. It is of clinical relevance in patients who present residual tumor after chemotherapy. In this situation 18FDG-PET is helpful in deciding whether or not a residual mass post-chemotherapy contains active tumor. 18FDG-PET can not replace retroperitoneal lymph node dissection for staging purposes.

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