Aim: Positron emission tomography (PET) using F18-flurodeoxy-glucose (FDG) has been widely used for reflecting cellular metabolism. However, the feasibility of FDG PET in the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is limited. The aim of the study was to assess the ability of FDG PET (PET/CT) in the detection of extrahepatic metastases or recurrent HCC. Materials and methods: We conducted MEDLINE, EMBASE and COCHRANE searches (last update, April 2011). Eight eligible articles were identified evaluating F18-FDG PET (PET/CT) in extrahepatic metastases or recurrent HCC. Two authors independently evaluated the methodological quality of each study. We estimated pooled sensitivities, specificities, summary receiver-operating-characteristic (SROC) curves, and summary likelihood ratios. Results: Eight eligible studies were enrolled in this study. The pooled estimates of sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio, and negative likelihood ratio of FDG PET (PET/CT) in the detection of metastatic HCC were 76.6%, 98.0%, 14.68, and 0.28, respectively. The pooled estimates of sensitivity, specificity, LR+ and LR- of FDG PET (PET/CT) in the detection of recurrent HCC were 81.7%, 88.9%, 4.72, and 0.19, respectively. Conclusion: Based on the results of this systematic review, F-18 FDG PET (PET/CT) was useful in ruling in extrahepatic metastases of HCC and valuable for ruling out the recurrent HCC.
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