It is estimated that nearly one-third of solitary pulmonary nodules (SPNs) may represent bronchogenic carcinoma. The noninvasive imaging methods used currently (ie, plain radiography, computed tomography) are not reliable for accurate detection of malignancy in most SPNs. The authors prospectively evaluated use of positron emission tomography (PET) with 2-[fluorine-18]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) for identification of malignancy in 20 patients with noncalcific, radiographically indeterminate SPNs. PET-FDG imaging demonstrated focal hypermetabolism in 13 biopsy-proved malignant nodules, whereas no increased FDG uptake was seen in the seven benign SPNs. Semiquantitative analysis with computation of differential uptake ratios also helped clearly differentiate benign nodules (mean +/- standard deviation, 0.56 +/- 0.27) from malignant nodules (mean +/- standard deviation, 5.63 +/- 2.38) (P less than .001). Thus, PET-FDG imaging may be a potentially useful noninvasive technique for accurate differentiation of benign and malignant SPNs that are radiographically indeterminate.