Diagnostic Performance and Prognostic Value of PET/CT with Different Tracers for Brain Tumors: A Systematic Review of Published Meta-Analyses

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Sep 20;20(19):4669. doi: 10.3390/ijms20194669.


Background: Several meta-analyses reporting data on the diagnostic performance or prognostic value of positron emission tomography (PET) with different tracers in detecting brain tumors have been published so far. This review article was written to summarize the evidence-based data in these settings.

Methods: We have performed a comprehensive literature search of meta-analyses published in the Cochrane library and PubMed/Medline databases (from inception through July 2019) about the diagnostic performance or prognostic value of PET with different tracers in patients with brain tumors.

Results: We have summarized the results of 24 retrieved meta-analyses on the use of PET or PET/computed tomography (CT) with different tracers in brain tumors. The tracers included were: fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG), carbon-11 methionine (11C-methionine), fluorine-18 fluoroethyltyrosine (18F-FET), fluorine-18 dihydroxyphenylalanine (18F-FDOPA), fluorine-18 fluorothymidine (18F-FLT), and carbon-11 choline (11C-choline). Evidence-based data demonstrated good diagnostic performance of PET with different tracers in detecting brain tumors, in particular, radiolabelled amino acid tracers showed the highest diagnostic performance values. All the PET tracers evaluated had significant prognostic value in patients with glioma.

Conclusions: Evidence-based data showed a good diagnostic performance for some PET tracers in specific indications and significant prognostic value in brain tumors.

Keywords: PET; brain metastases; brain tumors; diagnostic performance; glioma; meta-analysis; positron emission tomography; prognosis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography*
  • Prognosis
  • Radioactive Tracers
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use*


  • Radioactive Tracers
  • Radiopharmaceuticals