Clinical value of FDG-PET/CT in suspected paraneoplastic syndromes: a retrospective analysis of 137 patients

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Abstract

PURPOSE: Paraneoplastic syndromes (PNS) are relatively infrequent manifestations appearing before or after a cancer declares itself. Autoimmune mechanisms may be involved, but their cause and pathogenesis are often unknown. Due to disparity of symptoms, PNS remain a major diagnostic challenge. We examined the value of FDG-PET/CT for ruling in or out malignancy in a heterogeneous group of patients with suspected PNS.

METHODS: We retrospectively extracted data from all patients referred 2009-2013 with suspected PNS. Data included age, sex, follow-up period, scan report, further diagnostic procedures, and final clinical diagnosis. Conclusions of the scan reports were compared to the final follow-up outcome as determined during an average follow-up of 31 months (range 6-51.5) in patients who were not diagnosed with cancer in immediate continuation of a positive PET/CT scan.

RESULTS: A total of 137 patients were included. Main causes for referral were neurological (n = 67), rheumatological (n = 25), dermatological (n = 18), nephrological (n = 6), haematological (n = 2), abnormal biochemistry (n = 11), and others (n = 8). The cancer prevalence was 8.8 %. The FDG-PET/CT results were as follows: nine true positives, 22 false positives, 103 true negatives, and three false negatives. Corresponding diagnostic values were: sensitivity 75 %, specificity 82 %, accuracy 82 %, and positive and negative predictive values of 29 % and 97 %, respectively.

CONCLUSION: FDG-PET/CT has in patients with suspected PNS an impressively high negative predictive value and may be of value in ruling out PNS, the more so, the more the number of false positives can be minimized or used in differential diagnosis. We believe that FDG-PET/CT may become an important adjunct to the work-up and triage of patients with suspected PNS.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Volume42
Issue number13
Pages (from-to)2056-2063
ISSN1619-7070
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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