Objective: To estimate the sensitivity of [F] fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) and to assess the expression of glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) and proliferative index (PI) in bronchioloalveolar lung cancer (BAC).
Methods: Twenty-four patients with resected BAC underwent preoperative PET between October 1996 and February 2003. The surgical specimens were re-examined, and 18 patients who fulfilled the 1999 WHO definition for BAC were included in the study. The PET images were reviewed in order to determine the positive (PET+) and negative (PET-) tumours on PET. The pathology slides were stained with antibodies to GLUT1 and Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in order to determine GLUT1 expression and PI, respectively.
Results: There were 13 cases of PET+ BAC (sensitivity, 72%; confidence interval, 52-93%); seven of them were GLUT1+ cases and six were GLUT1-. The stromal cell PI was significantly higher in GLUT1+ BAC compared to GLUT- BAC (50.9+/-17.1 vs. 33.2+/-14.2, P=0.0286), and higher in PET+ BAC compared to PET- BAC (45.5+/-15.3 vs. 29.6+/-19.6, P=0.0854).
Conclusion: After applying the 1999 WHO criteria, the sensitivity of PET for detecting BAC is still relatively low. Other glucose transporters such as GLUT3 likely play a role in FDG uptake in BAC. GLUT1+ or PET+ BAC tumours have a higher stromal cell PI when compared to GLUT1- BAC or PET- BAC tumours, respectively.