A review of the literature for whole-body FDG PET in the management of patients with melanoma

Q J Nucl Med. 2000 Jun;44(2):153-67.


Background: A review and meta-analysis of the literature on the use of 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) in the detection of recurrent melanoma was conducted. The goals were to evaluate the quality of data reporting and to determine the overall values for the sensitivity and specificity of whole body FDG PET and management changes.

Methods: Guidelines to evaluate reporting within articles were formulated based on the United States medical payer source criteria for assessing studies reporting information on the utilization of new medical technology. A meta-analysis was conducted using methodology described in the peer reviewed literature.

Results: Our MEDLINE PLUS search resulted in a universe of 89 total articles. Within these 89, 19 were categorized in our targeted content area of which 13 were selected for analysis in our targeted subset, with the remaining 70 covering 24 different related content areas. Five of 13 (38%) articles in the target subset reported data which was adequate for incorporation into modeling objectives based on PET sensitivity and specificity values, with 1 of 13 (8%) in the same target subset reporting data adequate for modeling based on change-in-management data. Through a meta-analysis of the 13 target articles we determined, within a 95% confidence level, an overall sensitivity of 92% (95% confidence level 88.41%-95.82%) and an overall specificity of 90% (95% confidence level 83.26%-96.05%) as calculated by number of lesions, for FDG PET detecting recurrent melanoma throughout the whole body. Furthermore, limited data available for change-in-management suggests an overall FDG PET directed change-in-management value of 22%.

Conclusions: Our review suggests that improvements can be made to more effectively report the results of these FDG PET studies. The overall values determined through the meta-analysis indicate the potential benefits of using FDG PET as a diagnostic/management tool. Furthermore, these values should prove useful to assessing the cost effectiveness of utilizing FDG PET in the management of recurrent melanoma.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • False Negative Reactions
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Melanoma / therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Peer Review, Research
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Whole-Body Irradiation*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18