Aim: To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of published data on the role of fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18F-FDG PET) in predicting the WHO grade of malignancy in thymic epithelial tumors (TETs). Methods: A comprehensive literature search of studies published up to March 2014 was performed. Data on maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) in patients with low-risk thymomas (A, AB, B1), high-risk thymomas (B2, B3) and thymic carcinomas (C) according to the WHO classification were collected when reported by the retrieved articles. The comparison of mean SUVmax between low-risk thymomas, high-risk thymomas and thymic carcinomas was expressed as weighted mean difference (WMD) and a pooled WMD was calculated including 95% confidence interval (95%CI). Results: Eleven studies were selected for the meta-analysis. The pooled WMD of SUVmax between high-risk and low-risk thymomas was 1.2 (95%CI: 0.4-2.0). The pooled WMD of SUVmax between thymic carcinomas and low-risk thymomas was 4.8 (95%CI: 3.4-6.1). Finally, the pooled WMD of SUVmax between thymic carcinomas and high-risk thymomas was 3.5 (95%CI: 2.7-4.3). Conclusions: 18F-FDG PET may predict the WHO grade of malignancy in TETs. In particular, we demonstrated a statistically significant difference of SUVmax between the different TETs (low-grade thymomas, high-grade thymomas and thymic carcinomas).
- Positron emission tomography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cancer Research