The sensitivity and specificity of FDG PET in distinguishing recurrent brain tumor from radionecrosis in patients treated with stereotactic radiosurgery

Int J Cancer. 2001 Jun 20;96(3):191-7. doi: 10.1002/ijc.1016.


Radiation necrosis and recurrent brain tumor have similar symptoms and are indistinguishable on both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomograph scans. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) has been proposed as a diagnostic alternative, particularly when co-registered with MRI. We studied 47 patients with brain tumors treated with stereotactic radiosurgery and followed with FDG PET. For all tumor types, the sensitivity of FDG PET for diagnosing tumor was 75% and the specificity was 81%. For brain metastasis without MRI co-registration, FDG PET had a sensitivity of 65% and a specificity of 80%. For brain metastasis with MRI co-registration, FDG PET had a sensitivity of 86% and specificity of 80%. MRI co-registration appears to improve the sensitivity of FDG PET, making it a useful modality to distinguish between radiation necrosis and recurrent brain metastasis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Necrosis
  • Radiography
  • Radiosurgery*
  • Recurrence
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18