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Abstract

Background:

The aim of this study was to assess the additional value of information provided by positron emission tomography (PET) with [18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) over that provided by computed tomography (CT) in patients with resectable liver metastases from colorectal cancer.

Methods:

Between October 2001 and November 2002, a prospective double-blind comparison of preoperative FDG-PET and thoracoabdominal CT was performed in 53 patients with potentially resectable liver metastases from colorectal cancer. All resected metastases were subjected to histological examination.

Results:

Histological examination confirmed the presence of malignant or benign lesions detected by PET and/or CT in 95 per cent of instances. Overall sensitivity (78 per cent) and accuracy (88 per cent) of PET were equivalent to those of CT (76 and 86 per cent respectively). The sensitivity of PET was equivalent to that of CT for hepatic sites (both 79 per cent), but was superior for extrahepatic abdominal sites (63 and 25 per cent respectively). PET provided additional information in five patients, mainly by revealing abdominal extrahepatic metastases, but falsely upstaged three patients.

Conclusion:

Whole-body FDG-PET may identify unrecognized extrahepatic metastases in patients with potentially resectable liver metastases imaged by CT. However, additional information provided by PET is not as reliable as suggested by earlier retrospective studies. Copyright © 2005 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.