Diagnostic performance of PET/CT in differentiation of malignant and benign non-solid solitary pulmonary nodules

Ann Nucl Med. 2008 Aug;22(7):571-7. doi: 10.1007/s12149-008-0160-1. Epub 2008 Aug 29.


Objective: To evaluate whether [F-18] fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) can distinguish benign from malignant solitary pulmonary nodules (SPNs) with non-solid components.

Methods: [F-18] FDG-PET/CT scans were performed on 53 consecutive patients (30 men, 23 women; mean age 65 years) who had SPNs with non-solid components identified by CT screening for lung cancer. All patients underwent surgical resection, and all lesions were pathologically proved. Visual score, maximal, and mean standardized uptake value (SUV), and maximal and mean lesion-to-normal tissue count density ratio (LNR) were calculated in all lesions. In addition, clinical characteristics, laboratory test results, and CT findings were assessed.

Results: Benign SPNs with non-solid components had a higher uptake on [F-18] FDG-PET/CT. Visual score, maximal and mean SUV, and maximal and mean LNR were significantly higher in the benign when compared with the malignant SPNs (P < 0.001). When the cutoff of 1.5 was assigned for maximal SUV, the diagnostic performance of [F-18] FDG-PET/CT in predicting benign SPN revealed 100.0% sensitivity, 96.4% specificity, and 100.0% accuracy.

Conclusions: [F-18] FDG-PET/CT is useful for the differential diagnosis of SPNs with non-solid components.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Solitary Pulmonary Nodule / diagnostic imaging*
  • Solitary Pulmonary Nodule / pathology*
  • Solitary Pulmonary Nodule / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18