The role of positron emission tomography with fluorine-18-deoxyglucose in identifying colorectal cancer metastases to liver

Nucl Med Commun. 2000 Sep;21(9):793-8. doi: 10.1097/00006231-200009000-00002.


Liver metastasis is a common consequence of colorectal carcinoma. Early and accurate detection of liver metastasis is crucial for a decision about partial hepatectomy, which is considered a standard and potentially curative therapy in such a setting. The presence of extrahepatic metastases will exclude surgical resection as a therapeutic option. Positron emission tomography with fluorine-18-deoxyglucose (FDG-PET) has been successful in detecting and staging a variety of malignancies. The purpose of this study was to assess the utility of FDG-PET in the accurate detection of liver and distal metastases from colorectal cancer. The results of 80 PET and computed tomography (CT) scans were compared with surgical pathology and clinical outcome. FDG-PET detected liver metastases in 28 patients, with a sensitivity of 100%. CT detected metastasis in 20 patients, giving a sensitivity of 71.4%. In addition, in one patient with negative CT findings, PET detected a focus of hypermetabolism in the region adjacent to liver, which was proven to be a second focus of primary colon carcinoma. In six patients with liver metastases, PET correctly detected extrahepatic lesions, while CT only detected hepatic lesions. In conclusion, FDG-PET is an excellent imaging modality for the detection and staging of liver metastases in patients with colorectal carcinomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18