Aims and objectives: To determine the efficacy of integrated (18)F-fluorodeoxy glucose positron emission tomography-computed tomography ((18)F-FDG PET-CT) in the evaluation and characterization of mediastinal lymph nodes into benign and malignant pathology.
Methods: Thirty-five patients with mediastinal lymphadenopathies without primary neoplastic or infective lung pathologies were included in the study. The lymph nodes were detected on contrast-enhanced CT scan of the chest. All patients underwent (18)F-FDG PET-CT scan for evaluation of mediastinal lymph nodes. Results of PET-CT were compared with histopathology of the lymph nodes and sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy were calculated.
Statistical analysis: The data were collected prospectively and analyzed using (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL) 11.5 software.
Results: Histopathology results in 35 patients revealed tuberculosis in 12, sarcoidosis in 8, and lymphoma in 15. Maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) of the benign lymph nodes ranged from 2.3 to 11.8 with a mean±standard deviation (SD) of 5.02±3.26. SUVmax of the malignant lymph nodes ranged from 2.4 to 34 with a mean±SD of 10.8±8.12. There was a statistically significant difference between benign and malignant pathology (P<0.0059). (18)F-FDG PET-CT has sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 40% with SUVmax 2.5 as the cutoff. We found the optimal SUVmax cutoff to be 6.2 as determined by the receiver-operator characteristic curve. With 6.2 as cutoff, the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 87%, 70%, and 77%, respectively.
Conclusion: In countries where tuberculosis and other granulomatous diseases are endemic, SUVmax cutoff value of 2.5 has low specificity. Increasing the cutoff value can improve the specificity, while maintaining an acceptable sensitivity.
Keywords: FDG PET-CT; lymphoma; mediastinal lymph nodes; sarcoidosis; tuberculosis.