Impact of [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography on surgical management of melanoma patients

E. Bastiaannet, W. Oyen, S. Meijer, O. Hoekstra, T. Wobbes, P. Jager and H. Hoekstra

Department of Surgical Oncology, University Medical Centre Groningen, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands.
Feb, 2006



Several studies have shown adequate sensitivity and specificity of [(18)F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) for the detection of metastases from melanoma, but few have addressed its impact on treatment. The aim of this retrospective study was to assess the impact of FDG-PET on treatment of melanoma in three Dutch university medical centres.The medical records of 257 patients were reviewed. The indications for FDG-PET and findings were recorded. Unexpected findings of suspected (pre)malignant tumours other than melanoma were assessed. Treatment plans before and after FDG-PET were recorded and analysed to evaluate changes in disease management.Most scans (71.2 per cent) were requested for staging, mainly to detect distant metastases in patients with stage III disease. Overall, 56 patients (21.8 per cent) were upstaged as a result of PET. In 44 patients (17.1 per cent) treatment was changed, usually from surgery to systemic treatment in patients with stage III disease. Unexpected tumours were detected (mainly colorectal) in 11 patients (4.3 per cent).FDG-PET is most valuable in patients with stage III melanoma for detection of distant metastases and identification of candidates for surgery and/or systemic treatment. Unexpected FDG-PET findings should not be disregarded, as (pre)malignant, clinically relevant, tumours may be identified.