Objective: To predict a malignant grade of lung cancer by fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) scanning, we investigated the correlation between FDG uptake and pathological tumor stage, proliferative activities determined by Ki-67 and cyclin D1, and an alteration of p53, in clinical stage (c-stage) IA lung adenocarcinomas. Methods: FDG-PET was performed for 71 patients with c-stage IA lung adenocarcinomas. FDG uptake was measured by a contrast ratio (CR) between the tumor and contralateral lung. Ki-67, cyclin D1 and p53 staining scores were examined by immunohistochemistry. Results: The lesions with ground-glass opacity were found in 26 patients, and solid lesions in 45 by computed tomography. The pathological tumor stages (p-stage) were stage IA in 59 and more advanced stages in 12. The latter had significantly higher CR value than the former (P < 0.001). Patients with CR ≥ 0.55 could be predicted to be at advanced tumor stages, with a sensitivity of 0.83 and a specificity of 0.82. The CR and staining scores of Ki-67 were significantly correlated with each other (P < 0.0001), and both the values were significantly higher in advanced tumor stages than in p-stage IA, and were also significantly higher in tumors with intratumoral lymphatic, vascular and pleural involvements than in those without such features (P < 0.05-0.0001). Conclusions: In c-stage IA lung adenocarcinomas, the FDG uptake can predict p-stage and tumor proliferative activity determined by Ki-67. For c-stage IA lung adenocarcinomas showing CR ≥ 0.55, mediastinoscopy or neoadjuvant chemotherapy is indicated.
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