DOI: 10.1007/s00259-018-4188-8Pages: 1-12

FET PET reveals considerable spatial differences in tumour burden compared to conventional MRI in newly diagnosed glioblastoma

1. Forschungszentrum Juelich, Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-3, -4, -5)

2. University of Cologne, Department of Neurosurgery

3. University of Cologne, Department of Neurology

4. University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Department of Neurology

5. University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Department of Nuclear Medicine

6. Universities of Cologne and Bonn, Center of Integrated Oncology (CIO)

Correspondence to:
Philipp Lohmann
Tel: +49-2461-61-96357




Areas of contrast enhancement (CE) on MRI are usually the target for resection or radiotherapy target volume definition in glioblastomas. However, the solid tumour mass may extend beyond areas of CE. Amino acid PET can detect parts of the tumour that show no CE. We systematically investigated tumour volumes delineated by amino acid PET and MRI in patients with newly diagnosed, untreated glioblastoma.


Preoperatively, 50 patients with neuropathologically confirmed glioblastoma underwent O-(2-[18F]-fluoroethyl)-l-tyrosine (FET) PET, and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) and contrast-enhanced MRI. Areas of CE were manually segmented. FET PET tumour volumes were segmented using a tumour-to-brain ratio of ≥1.6. The percentage overlap volumes, and Dice and Jaccard spatial similarity coefficients (DSC, JSC) were calculated. FLAIR images were evaluated visually.


In 43 patients (86%), the FET tumour volume was significantly larger than the CE volume (21.5 ± 14.3 mL vs. 9.4 ± 11.3 mL; P < 0.001). Forty patients (80%) showed both increased uptake of FET and CE. In these 40 patients, the spatial similarity between FET uptake and CE was low (mean DSC 0.39 ± 0.21, mean JSC 0.26 ± 0.16). Ten patients (20%) showed no CE, and one of these patients showed no FET uptake. In five patients (10%), increased FET uptake was present outside areas of FLAIR hyperintensity.


Our results show that the metabolically active tumour volume delineated by FET PET is significantly larger than tumour volume delineated by CE. Furthermore, the results strongly suggest that the information derived from both imaging modalities should be integrated into the management of patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma.

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  • Accepted: Oct 3, 2018
  • Online: Oct 16, 2018

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