Testicular cancer is a rare tumour with the potential for cure at diagnosis. It is important, however, to identify those patients with metastases at presentation so as to ensure that the optimum treatment strategy is employed. Many criteria have been used to try to place patients into high- or low-risk groups, with variable success. Fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) has the potential to identify active disease and thereby influence further management. Here we report on a retrospective study of the use of FDG-PET in the detection of metastatic testicular carcinoma at diagnosis. Thirty-one patients [13 with seminoma and 18 with non-seminomatous germ cell tumours (13 teratomas, 5 mixed)] were staged by FDG-PET scanning. The imaging was performed using a Siemens ECAT 951 scanner. All results were assessed on the basis of histology or clinical follow-up. FDG-PET scan identified metastatic disease in ten and was negative in 16; there were no false-positives and five false-negatives. There were six patients in whom FDG-PET was negative and computed tomography was regarded as suspicious but follow-up was inconclusive. The positive predictive value was 100%. The negative predictive value was 76% or 91%, depending on whether the aforementioned six cases were regarded as true-negatives or false-negatives. It may be concluded that FDG-PET is capable of detecting metastatic disease at diagnosis that is not identified by other imaging techniques. These preliminary results are sufficient to suggest that a large prospective study should be performed to evaluate the role of FDG-PET in primary staging of disease.