Objective: To perform a meta-analysis to compare (18)FDG PET, CT, MRI and bone scintigraphy (BS) for the diagnosis of bone metastases.
Methods: Databases including MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for relevant original articles published from January 1995 to January 2010. Software was used to obtain pooled estimates of sensitivity, specificity and summary receiver operating characteristic curves (SROC).
Results: 67 articles consisting of 145 studies fulfilled all inclusion criteria. On per-patient basis, the pooled sensitivity estimates for PET, CT, MRI and BS were 89.7%, 72.9%, 90.6% and 86.0% respectively. PET=MRI>BS>CT. ("="indicated no significant difference, P > 0.05; ">" indicated significantly higher, P < 0.05). The pooled specificity estimates for PET, CT, MRI and BS were 96.8%, 94.8%, 95.4% and 81.4% respectively. PET = CT = MRI>BS. On per-lesion basis, the pooled sensitivity estimates for PET, CT, MRI and BS were 86.9%, 77.1%, 90.4% and 75.1% respectively. PET = MRI>BS>CT. The pooled specificity estimates for PET, CT, MRI and BS were 97.0%, 83.2%, 96.0% and 93.6% respectively. PET>MRI>BS>CT.
Conclusion: PET and MRI were found to be comparable and both significantly more accurate than CT and BS for the diagnosis of bone metastases.