Purpose: This study was done to evaluate the diagnostic utility of dynamic positron emission tomography (PET) with F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) imaging in patients with suspected malignant pulmonary lesions. We wanted to test the hypothesis that the rate of FDG uptake (FDG influx constant values) would differentiate malignant from benign lung or mediastinal lesions.
Materials and methods: We performed segmental dynamic PET imaging studies following administration of FDG in 19 patients with indeterminate pulmonary lesions based on chest radiograph and/or CT scans. Patlak analysis was done to compute Ki (FDG influx constant) values and compared with FDG standardized uptake values (SUVs) and histology.
Results: FDG Ki values (mean ± SD) were significantly greater (p < 0.01) in all 12 malignant lesions (0.029 ± 0.02) as compared with 7 benign lesions (0.0024 ± 0.0011) with good correlation to the SUV values. Distinct time activity curve patterns were identified in malignant and benign lesions with continued uptake in malignant lesions.
Conclusion: Dynamic PET-FDG imaging accurately differentiates malignant from benign pulmonary lesions. In certain cases with equivocal findings on visual analysis and SUV values, dynamic imaging may be further helpful in differentiating benign and malignant lesions.