Value of positron emission tomography in the diagnosis of malignant ocular tumors

Ophthalmologica. 2001 May-Jun;215(3):163-8. doi: 10.1159/000050851.


Purpose: To address the question whether positron emission tomography (PET) can identify malignant ocular tumors.

Methods: In patients with ocular tumors, PET was performed using the incorporation of the glucose analogue (18)F-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose. The diagnosis of the ocular lesions was based on conventional diagnostic procedures including histologic examination.

Results: Nineteen patients with a mean age of 62.8 +/- 14.2 years were included in this study. Nine patients with a mean age of 62.9 +/- 13.1 years displayed the presence of a malignant tumor including metastatic lesions (4), malignant melanomas (4) and squamous cell carcinoma (1). Additionally, 10 patients with a mean age of 62.8 +/- 15.9 years with benign lesions were studied. There was a statistically significant difference (p = 0.012) in tumor height and tumor volume, but not in tumor diameter between benign and malignant lesions. The smallest PET positive lesion measured 7 x 3 mm. PET was positive in 7 out of 9 malignant lesions and negative in all 10 benign lesions, i.e. there was no false-positive and two false-negative results. The two false-negative tumors represented malignant melanomas of the choroid. Additionally, results of the PET examination were independent of tumor size.

Conclusion: PET seems to be of limited value for the diagnosis of malignant melanoma of the choroid, i.e. a negative result does not exclude a malignant process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnostic imaging*
  • Choroid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Ciliary Body / diagnostic imaging*
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed
  • Uveal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18