OBJECTIVES: To evaluate diagnostic accuracy of 18 F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG PET/CT) compared to contrast-enhanced CT in assessment of inguinal lymph node (ILN) metastases, distant metastases and synchronous cancers in patients with penile squamous cell carcinoma (pSCC).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: During a 4-year period, patients with pSCC were scheduled for FDG PET/CT prior to surgical treatment at two referral centres that manage all penile cancers in Denmark. The primary endpoint was diagnostic accuracy of FDG PET/CT and of CT alone with histopathology or Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST) as reference.
RESULTS: We evaluated 171 patients for distant metastases and synchronous incident cancers and examined 286 groins in 143 patients for LN metastases by FDG PET/CT. Six groins disclosed false negatives. FDG PET/CT sensitivity was 85.4% per patient. In 135 patients (270 groins), CT images were evaluated separately and 22 groins disclosed false negatives. CT sensitivity was 47.5% per patient. FDG PET/CT detected pSCC distant metastases in seven patients. Distant metastases from other cancers were newly detected in three patients. In eight patients, an incidental synchronous cancer was detected. Seven out of the 18 distant malignancies detected depended on FDG PET information.
CONCLUSION: This study underlines the increased diagnostic accuracy of FDG PET/CT compared to CT alone in the evaluation of ILN status. In patients with palpable LNs, the advantage of FDG PET/CT over CT is less pronounced. FDG PET/CT may play a role in penile cancer evaluation.