The unidentified presence of uterine smooth muscle malignancies poses a tremendous risk in women planning surgery for presumed benign leiomyomas. We sought to investigate whether preoperative FDG PET may be useful to identify leiomyosarcomas (LMS) and smooth muscle tumors of uncertain malignant potential (STUMP). Methods. We investigated patients with rapidly growing uterine masses which were suspected of being malignant on ultrasound or MRI. Among the 21 patients who underwent FDG PET, we identified 7 LMS, 1 STUMP, and 13 leiomyomas. PET-derived parameters and FDG uptake patterns were analyzed retrospectively. Results. The SUVmax values of LMS/STUMP (range: 3.7-11.8) were significantly higher than those observed in leiomyomas (range: 2.0-9.4; P=0.003) despite a significant overlap. The metabolic tumor/necrosis ratio was significantly higher in LMS/STUMP than in leiomyomas (P<0.001), with no significant intergroup overlaps. All LMS/STUMP revealed a characteristic pattern of FDG uptake, identifying a specific "hollow ball" sign (corresponding to areas of coagulative tumor necrosis). In contrast, this sign was invariably absent in patients with leiomyomas. Conclusion. The characteristic FDG uptake pattern instead of SUV on PET images allows identifying LMS/STUMP in patients with rapidly growing uterine masses, avoiding the deleterious consequences of regular surgery for presumed benign leiomyomas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas