Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography in pulmonary carcinoid tumors

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Aim: The role of fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) as an additional investigation to computer tomography for pulmonary carcinoid tumors remains controversial. The aim of this study was to assess the role of FDG-PET for the diagnosis and staging of pulmonary carcinoid tumors. Methods: We performed a retrospective mono-institutional analysis of data from 97 patients with pathologically confirmed pulmonary carcinoid tumor who had been operated on between July 1998 and April 2009 and had had a preoperative FDG-PET scan performed. Results: Sixty-five (67%) of the 97 tumors were typical (TC) and 32 (33%) atypical (AC) carcinoid tumors. Overall FDG-PET sensitivity was 67% being lower for TC (60%) than for AC (81%) (P=0.04). FDG-PET negative tumors were smaller than FDG-PET positive tumors, with a respective median size of 15 and 17 mm (P=0.02). Median SUVmax for FDG-PET-positive tumors was 4.0 (2.8-5.1) with no difference between TC and AC tumors. Median Ki-67 expression was respectively 4.7% and 3.1% for FDG-PET positive and FDG-PET negative tumors (P=0.05). During a median follow-up of 49 months (interquartile range 30-63 months), 9 patients (4TC, 5AC) developed recurrent disease. Neither SUVmax nor Ki-67 expression resulted associated with disease-free survival. Conclusion: With an overall sensitivity of 67%, FDG-PET has shown to be useful in the preoperative workup of patients with suspect lung carcinoid tumors. In particular it could have a role in larger tumors. These results warrant a prospective evaluation of FDG-PET in the staging of lung carcinoid tumor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-454
Number of pages9
JournalQuarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Carcinoid tumor
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Positron-emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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