Aim: The aim of our retrospective study was to assess the usefulness of 18F-FDG PET/CT in the restaging of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients.
Patients and Methods: Sixty-nine patients (median age = 62 years; range = 36–86 years) affected by clear cell RCC (TNM at staging: T1, 42 patients; T2, 13 patients; T3, 11 patients; T4, 3 patients; Fuhrman grade: G2, 47 patients; G3, 20 patients; G4, 2 patients) underwent whole-body 18F-FDG PET/CT to restage the disease after nephrectomy for clinical or radiological suspicion of metastases. Areas of abnormal uptake at PET/CT were classified, taking the liver uptake as reference, as follows: 1 = faint uptake, lower than liver; 2 = moderate uptake, equal to liver; and 3 = high uptake, higher than liver. Validation of 18F-FDG PET/CT results was established by (1) biopsy (23 patients) and (2) other imaging modalities (addressed BS; c.e.CT; MRI; 18F-fluoride PET/CT; subsequent 18F-FDG PET/CT), and/or clinical and radiological follow-up of 12 months (46 patients).
Results: 18F-FDG PET/CT was positive in 42 patients and negative in 27 patients. Sixteen patients presented single lesions and 26 patients presented multiple localizations of the disease. On a patient basis, 40 patients resulted true positive, 2 patient false positive, 23 patients true negative, and 4 patients false negative. Sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were 90%, 92%, 91%, 95%, and 85%, respectively. On a lesion basis, PET/CT detected 114 areas of abnormal uptake in 42 positive patients of which 112 resulted to be true positive. FDG uptake of the true positive lesions resulted to be high in 83 cases, moderate in 17 lesions, and finally faint in 12 lesions.
Conclusions: 18F-FDG PET/CT demonstrated a good sensitivity in the restaging of clear cell RCC. Most of the lesions showed intense activity. According to our results, it seems that the use of 18F-FDG PET/CT in the restaging of RCC is feasible because the number of false-negative cases is limited.