Differentiation of central nervous system lesions in AIDS patients using positron emission tomography (PET).
To determine if positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) can accurately distinguish between malignant and infectious central nervous system (CNS) mass lesions in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, a prospective case series of 18 patients with HIV infection and focal CNS lesions on computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance (MR) scans was analysed. The patients were divided into 3 groups based on biopsy results, serology and response to therapy. Group 1 consisted of 8 patients with infectious lesions (4 with toxoplasmosis, 2 with neurosyphilis, 2 with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)). Group 2 consisted of 5 patients with biopsy proven CNS lymphoma. Group 3 consisted of 5 patients with presumed CNS lymphoma. Patients underwent FDG-PET studies as an adjunctive diagnostic procedure. The metabolic activity of each patient's lesion was graded using both a qualitative visual score and a semi-quantitative count ratio comparing the lesion with contralateral brain. CNS lesions diagnosed as lymphomas had statistically higher visual scores (P = 0.001) and count ratios (P = 0.002) than CNS lesions diagnosed as infections. FDG-PET could accurately differentiate lymphoma from infections in 16 of 18 cases. Two cases of PML had high metabolic activity and could not be differentiated from lymphoma. FDG-PET shows great promise in differentiating lymphoma from infectious lesions in the CNS of patients with HIV infection. If larger prospective studies confirm this impression, more specific and rapid treatment of CNS lesions could be performed and perhaps obviate the need for brain biopsy in many cases.
Heald, AE; Hoffman, JM; Bartlett, JA; Waskin, HA
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