Background/aims: We prospectively evaluated whether fluorine-18 deoxyglucose (FDG) positron coincidence detection (PCD) or FDG single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) provides additional benefits to our conventional preoperative evaluation of lesion detection in patients suspected to have hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Methods: Thirteen consecutive patients with a suspected HCC underwent conventional preoperative evaluation with ultrasonography (US), triple-phase helical computed tomography (CT), superparamagnetic iron oxides (SPIO) enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and serum α-fetoprotein (AFP) level. All 13 patients had an FDG-PCD and SPECT. These results were evaluated to assess the value of FDG-PCD and SPECT in addition to US, SPIO-enhanced MRI and triple-phase helical CT. Results: Ten of the 13 (77%) patients had at least one histologically confirmed HCC without extrahepatic abdominal spread. The tumors ranged in size from 1 to 8 cm and the serum AFP ranged from 3 to 30 000 μg/l. Of these 10 patients, two patients had an increased tumor F-FDG uptake (sensitivity of 20%); one patient with an AFP of 5 μg/l and a tumor size of maximum 4.5 cm and one patient with an AFP of 249 μg/l and a tumor size of maximum 2 cm. In three patients with a benign liver mass, FDG imaging with either PCD or SPECT was negative. There was no false positive finding. Conclusions: We found poor sensitivity of FDG-PCD and FDG-SPECT for the detection of HCC. There were no clear relations between AFP or tumor size and FDG uptake. Therefore, we conclude that FDG imaging with PCD or SPECT has no value in the preoperative work-up for HCC in patients with cirrhosis.

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Department of Surgery

Verhoef, C, Valkema, R, de Man, R.A, Krenning, E.P, & Yzermans, J. (2002). Fluorine-18 FDG imaging in hepatocellular carcinoma using positron coincidence detection and single photon emission computed tomography. Liver, 22(1), 51–56. doi:10.1046/j.0106-9543.2001.01593.x