18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET/computerized tomography (CT) is a valuable method in the diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). But, some infections, particularly tuberculosis, are known to mimic cancer. We aimed to compare the FDG PET/CT findings of tuberculosis pleurisy (TP) and malignant mesothelioma and evaluate its role of differential diagnosis.
Material and method
We retrospectively reviewed the data from 85 patients (45 patients with MPM and 40 patients with TP) who underwent FDG PET/CT. All images were reevaluated and pleural thickening, maximum standardized uptake values (SUVmax), lymphatic uptake and accompanying parenchymal findings were noted.
There was no significant difference in age and sex between the two groups. Pleural thickening was more prominent in the MPM group. Mean pleural thickness was 21.4 ± 18.6 mm in the MPM group and 6.8 ± 3.5 mm in the TP group (P = 0.0). Besides pleural pathology, lymph nodes involvement in the thoracic (P = 0.0) and extrathoracic area (P = 0.34) and parenchymal findings were prominent in the TP group (P = 0.0). However, there was no significant difference in pleural SUVmax values between the two groups (P = 0.61).
Intense pleural FDG uptake can be observed in TP like malignant mesothelioma. For the evaluation of the pleural pathologies in the tuberculosis endemic countries, it should be considered that FDG PET/CT may have false-positive results. Evaluation of increased pleural FDG uptake together with the detected parenchymal findings and lymphatic involvement may help us to make more accurate interpretation of the diagnosis.