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05.12.2016 | Original Article | Ausgabe 2/2017

Annals of Nuclear Medicine 2/2017

18F-FDG PET/CT to differentiate malignant necrotic lymph node from benign cystic lesions in the neck

Zeitschrift:
Annals of Nuclear Medicine > Ausgabe 2/2017
Autoren:
Peymaneh Abadi, Allan Johansen, Christian Godballe, Oke Gerke, Poul Flemming Høilund-Carlsen, Anders Thomassen

Abstract

Objective

Patients presenting with cystic lesions in the neck without obvious signs of malignancy constitute a diagnostic challenge since fine needle aspiration is often insufficient and a diagnosis may not be reached until surgical resection/biopsy is performed. The differential diagnosis of a cystic cervical mass comprises a variety of benign conditions, but malignancy must be ruled out. We examined the diagnostic performance of fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) PET/CT to identify malignancy.

Methods

We retrospectively included consecutive patients referred from the Department of ENT Head and Neck Surgery for 18F-FDG PET/CT-scans because of a solitary neck cyst. Scan results were compared to histopathology and follow-up.

Results

The study comprised 58 patients. Twenty patients (34%) were diagnosed with cancer during follow-up. PET/CT suggested malignancy in 34 patients (19 true positive, 15 false positive) and showed no malignancy in 24 (23 true negative, 1 false negative). The sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, positive and negative predictive values were 95% (76–99%), 61% (45–74%), 72% (60–82%), 56% (39–71%), and 96% (80–99%), respectively (95% confidence intervals in brackets). The primary tumor was identified in 14 out of the 20 patients with confirmed cancer. Increased metabolism, as evaluated by PET, was the only imaging characteristic among several others, which associated independently with malignancy in the cystic neck lesions, odds ratio 1.27 (1.07–1.50), p = 0.006.

Conclusion

18F-FDG PET/CT could reliably rule out malignancy (NPV 96%), albeit with a high frequency of false positive scans, requiring further diagnostic work-up. Increased metabolism was the best imaging parameter to differentiate between malignant and benign lesions.

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Acknowledgements to Reviewers

Acknowledgements to reviewers

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