Background: It is often difficult to detect a local recurrence of soft-tissue sarcomas due to disturbance of the normal anatomy by previous surgery and radiotherapy. The aim of this study was to assess the value of positron emission tomography (PET) with [18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) for detecting local recurrences.
Methods: In the period 1992-1995, 17 patients with proven or suspected local recurrence of soft-tissue sarcoma were examined using FDG-PET. Fifteen of these patients were ultimately proven to have a recurrence.
Results: Recurrence was visualized in 14 patients (93%). Small tumors (maximum diameter 0.5 cm) were as easily visible as large lesions (maximum diameter 20 cm). In one patient the PET scan was positive, but the recurrence could not be proven histologically. Recurrence was proven 1 year later. A recurrent low-grade liposarcoma was not visualized. The two patients with benign lesions had a negative PET scan. The mean glucose metabolic rate was calculated to be 13.2 mumol/100 g/min (range 1.9-28.4). A correlation was found between the histological malignancy grade and the metabolic rate (p < 0.05; Kruskal-Wallis).
Conclusion: PET with FDG is a useful addition to the diagnostic armamentarium for detecting local recurrence of soft-tissue sarcomas and provides an indication of the malignancy grade of the recurrent lesion.