BACKGROUND: Positron emission tomography (PET) with 18-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is an accurate method for differentiating benign from malignant disease. The use of FDG-PET for the aetiological diagnosis of pleural disease was investigated in 25 patients. METHODS: PET was performed on each subject before invasive procedures were used to determine the aetiological diagnosis. The PET data were analysed by visual interpretation of coronal, sagittal, and transverse slices. RESULTS: Sixteen patients were found to have malignant pleural disease and nine had benign disease. All patients with histologically confirmed malignant disease showed FDG uptake within the pleural thickening which was intense in 14 cases and moderate in two. PET imaging showed the absence of FDG uptake and correctly categorised seven non-malignant lesions. Two patients with infectious pleural diseases showed a localised and moderate FDG uptake. CONCLUSION: Our preliminary results suggest that FDG-PET could be an effective tool for differentiating between benign and malignant pleural diseases.
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