Gallium-68 somatostatin receptor (SMSR) positron emission tomography (PET) and positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) are valuable diagnostic tools for patients with neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). To date, a meta-analysis about the diagnostic accuracy of these imaging methods is lacking. Aim of our study is to meta-analyse published data about the diagnostic performance of SMSR PET or PET/CT in patients with thoracic and/or gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) NETs. A comprehensive computer literature search of studies published in PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus and Embase databases through October 2011 and regarding SMSR PET or PET/CT in patients with NETs was carried out. Only studies in which SMSR PET or PET/CT were performed in patients with thoracic and/or GEP NETs were selected (medullary thyroid tumours and neural crest derived tumours were excluded from the analysis). Pooled sensitivity, pooled specificity and area under the ROC curve were calculated to measure the diagnostic accuracy of SMSR PET and PET/CT in NETs.
Results: Sixteen studies comprising 567 patients were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled sensitivity and specificity of SMSR PET or PET/CT in detecting NETs were 93% (95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 91-95%) and 91% (95% CI: 82-97%), respectively, on a per patient-based analysis. The area under the ROC curve was 0.96. In patients with suspicious thoracic and/or GEP NETs, SMSR PET and PET/CT demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity. These accurate techniques should be considered as first-line diagnostic imaging methods in patients with suspicious thoracic and/or GEP NETs.