Differentiating recurrent tumor from radiation necrosis: Time for re- evaluation of positron emission tomography?

Peter E. Ricci, John P. Karis, Joseph E. Heiserman, Evan K. Fram, Alden N. Bice, Burton P. Drayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

308 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our purpose was to evaluate the ability of FDG PET to differentiate recurrent tumor from posttherapy radiation necrosis. METHODS: MR images, PET scans, and medical records of 84 consecutive patients with a history of a treated intracranial neoplasm were evaluated retrospectively. In all patients, recurrent tumor or radiation necrosis was suggested by clinical or MR findings. Metabolic activity of the PET abnormality was compared qualitatively with normal contralateral gray and white matter. RESULTS: PET findings were confirmed histologically in 31 patients. With contralateral white matter as the standard of comparison, the PET scan sensitivity and specificity were found to be 86% and 22%, respectively. With contralateral gray matter as the reference standard, the sensitivity and specificity became 73% and 56%, respectively. Overall, nearly one third of the patients would have been treated inappropriately in either scheme had the PET scan been the sole determinant of therapy. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that the ability of FDG PET to differentiate recurrent tumor from radiation necrosis is limited. Both false-positive and false-negative PET scan results contributed to unacceptably low sensitivity and specificity values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-413
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Volume19
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

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