The role of imaging in malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Imaging plays an essential role in the diagnosis, staging, and follow-up of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). The diagnosis is often suggested by a unilateral pleural mass with a moderate to large pleural effusion seen on chest radiographs, but computerized tomography (CT) is the most frequently used technique for evaluation of the lungs in patients with MPM. CT not only suggests pulmonary metastases typically manifested as nodules or masses, but also can demonstrate underlying lung disease often caused by prior asbestos exposure. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging may be helpful in selected patients with potentially resectable disease to further examine the local extent of tumor. Imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) using the radionuclide imaging agent (18)F fluoro-deoxyglucose (FDG) takes advantage of a basic property of tumor cells, increased glucose metabolism to identify malignant lesions. PET provides not only anatomic information, especially regarding mediastinal node metastasis, but also biochemical information about the lesion. These imaging modalities help triage patients to the most appropriate diagnostic and treatment options. Following patients after therapy usually relies on chest radiographs, although CT can more accurately describe response to therapy. This review will focus on radiologic evaluation in diagnosing, staging, and follow-up patients with MPM.
Marom, EM; Erasmus, JJ; Pass, HI; Patz, EF
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