Evaluation of soft-tissue lesions with (18)F-FDG PET/CT: initial results of a prospective trial

Nucl Med Commun. 2014 Mar;35(3):252-9. doi: 10.1097/MNM.0000000000000041.


Purpose of the report: Although MRI is utilized for planning the resection of soft-tissue tumors, it is not always capable of differentiating benign from malignant lesions. The risk of local recurrence of soft-tissue sarcomas is increased when biopsies are performed before resection and by inadequate resections. PET associated with computed tomography using fluorodeoxyglucose labeled with fluorine-18 ((18)F-FDG PET/CT) may help differentiate between benign and malignant tumors, thus avoiding inadequate resections and making prior biopsies unnecessary. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of (18)F-FDG PET/CT in differentiating benign from malignant solid soft-tissue lesions.

Materials and methods: Patients with solid lesions of the limbs or abdominal wall detected by MRI were submitted to (18)F-FDG PET/CT. The maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) cutoff was determined to differentiate malignant from benign tumors. Regardless of the (18)F-FDG PET/CT results all patients underwent biopsy and surgery.

Results: MRI was performed in 54 patients, and 10 patients were excluded because of purely lipomatose or cystic lesions. (18)F-FDG PET/CT was performed in the remaining 44 patients. Histopathology revealed 26 (59%) benign and 18 (41%) malignant soft-tissue lesions. A significant difference in SUVmax was observed between benign and malignant soft-tissue lesions. The SUVmax cutoff of 3.0 differentiated malignant from benign lesions with 100% sensitivity, 83.3% specificity, 89.6% accuracy, 78.3% positive predictive value, and 100% negative predictive value.

Conclusion: (18)F-FDG PET/CT seems to be able to differentiate benign from malignant soft-tissue lesions with good accuracy and very high negative predictive value. Incorporating (18)F-FDG PET/CT into the diagnostic algorithm of these patients may prevent inadequate resections and unnecessary biopsies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Area Under Curve
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimodal Imaging*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Young Adult


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18