Objectives: To evaluate the accuracy of fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) compared with computed tomography (CT) staging in patients with Stage I and II testicular germ cell tumors (GCTs).
Methods: From January 1995 to July 1997, in 37 patients with clinical Stage (CS) I (n = 25) and CS II (n = 12) GCT (24 nonseminomas, 13 seminomas), PET and CT were compared in the initial staging. After PET, the patients with nonseminomatous GCT were staged surgically by retroperitoneal lymph node dissection and the patients with seminomatous GCT were followed up clinically.
Results: Correct staging by PET was achieved in 34 of 37 patients compared with correct CT staging in 29 of 37 patients. Of 10 metastatic lesions, 7 and 4 were detected by PET and CT, respectively. PET did not show false-positive signals. PET was unable to detect vital cancer with a maximal diameter less than 0.5 cm or teratoma at any size.
Conclusions: PET was useful for detecting viable tumor in lesions that are visible on CT scan and, thus, it may omit false-positive CS II lesions. However, PET was not able to identify mature teratoma. In this study, PET did not improve the staging in patients with CS I tumor.