Fluorodeoxyglucose-PET in the management of malignant melanoma

Radiol Clin North Am. 2005 Jan;43(1):23-33. doi: 10.1016/j.rcl.2004.09.011.


FDG-PET is of limited use in patients with early-stage disease without nodal or distant metastases (stage I-II), because sentinel node biopsy is much more sensitive in detecting microscopic lymph node metastases. Because of the high tumor-to-background ratio, FDG-PET can highlight metastases at unusual sites that are easily missed with conventional imaging modalities. PET has been shown to have a strong role in detecting metastatic disease. FDG-PET is more sensitive than CT for detecting metastatic lesions in skin, lymph nodes, and abdomen, but CT is equivalent to or more sensitive than FDG-PET for detecting small pulmonary lesions. FDG-PET identifies the location and number of metastatic lesions in stage III and IV disease and therefore is important for surgical planning. Most of the false-negative FDG-PET results are caused by micrometastases and lesion smaller than 10 mm. Postsurgical inflammation, other inflammatory lesions, and some benign tumors cause some false-positive FDG-PET results.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / secondary
  • Melanoma / therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18