Objective: To compare 18F-FDG PET/CT and MRI for differentiating benign and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (BPNSTs and MPNSTs) and correlate imaging characteristics with histopathology. Materials and methods: Patients with pathologically proven PNSTs undergoing 18F-FDG PET/CT were retrospectively reviewed. PET/CTs and, if available, MRIs were analyzed, noting multiple imaging characteristics and likely pathology (benign or malignant). Results: Thirty-eight patients with 23 BPNSTs and 20 MPNSTs were analyzed. MPNSTs had higher SUVmax (10.1 ± 1.0, 4.2 ± 0.4, p <0.0001), metabolic tumor volume (146.5 ± 39.4, 21.7 ± 6.6 cm3, p = 0.01), total lesion glycolysis (640.7 ± 177.5, 89.9 ± 23.2 cm3*g/ml, p = 0.01), and SUVmax/LiverSUVmean (5.3 ± 0.5, 2.0 ± 0.2, p <0.0001). All lesions with SUVmax <4.3 were benign. All lesions with SUVmax > 8.1 were malignant. SUVmax cutoff of 6.1 yielded 90.0 % sensitivity and 78.3 % specificity for MPNSTs. SUVmax/LiverSUVmean cutoff of 3.0 yielded 90.0 % sensitivity and 82.6 % specificity. MPNSTs more commonly had heterogeneous FDG activity (p <0.0001), perilesional edema (p = 0.004), cystic degeneration/necrosis (p = 0.015), and irregular margins (p = 0.004). There was no difference in lesion size, MRI signal characteristics, or enhancement. Expertly interpreted MRI had 62.5–81.3 % sensitivity and 94.1–100.0 % specificity while PET had 90.0–100.0 % sensitivity and 52.2–82.6 % specificity for diagnosing MPNSTs. Conclusions: FDG PET and MRI play a complementary role in PNST evaluation. Multiple metabolic parameters and MRI imaging characteristics are useful in differentiating BPNSTs from MPNSTs. This underscores the potential critical role of PET/MRI in these patients.
- Nerve sheath
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging