Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive malignancy, frequently diagnosed at locally-advanced/metastatic stages. Due to a very poor prognosis and limited treatment options, the need to identify new prognostic markers represents a great clinical challenge. The prognostic role of metabolic information derived from Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with 18F-Fluoro-deoxy-glucose (18F-FDG) has been investigated in different MPM settings, however with no definitive consensus. In this comprehensive review, the prognostic value of FDG-PET imaging exclusively performed at staging in MPM patients was evaluated, conducting a literature search on PubMed/MEDLINE from 2010 to 2020. From the 19 selected studies, despite heterogeneity in several aspects, staging FDG-PET imaging emerges as a valuable prognostic biomarker, with higher tumor uptake predictive of worse prognosis, and with volumetric metabolic parameters like Metabolic Tumor Volume, (MTV) and Total Lesion Glycolisis (TLG) performing better than SUVmax. However, PET uptake parameters were not always confirmed as independent prognostic factors, especially in patients previously treated with pleurodesis and with a non-epithelioid histotype. Future prospective studies in larger and clinically homogeneous populations, and using more standardized methods of PET images analysis, are needed to further validate the value of staging FDG-PET in the prognostic MPM stratification, with a potential impact on better patient-tailored treatment planning, in the perspective of personalized medicine.
Keywords: 18F-FDG; PET/CT; mesothelioma; pleural; prognosis.