Accuracy of 18F-flurodeoxyglucosepositron emission tomography/computed tomography in the staging of newly diagnosed nasopharyngeal carcinoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Balamurugan A. Vellayappan, Yu Yang Soon, Arul Earnest, Qing Zhang, Wee Yao Koh, Ivan Weng Keong Tham, Khai Mun Lee

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The specific role of 18F-flurodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) in staging of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) remains to be validated. A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to assess the accuracy of staging FDG-PET/CT for newly diagnosed NPC. Methods: We searched various biomedical databases and conference proceedings for relevant studies. We determined the pooled sensitivities and specificities, diagnostic odds ratios (DOR) and constructed summary receiver operating characteristic (SROC) curves using the hierarchical regression model. Results. 15 relevant studies including 851 patients were identified. Five addressed primary tumor (T), nine addressed regional lymph nodes (N) and seven addressed distant metastasis (M). The combined sensitivity estimate for FDG-PET/CT in T classification was 0.77 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.59-0.95). For N classification, combined sensitivity was 0.84 (95% CI 0.76-0.91), specificity was 0.90 (95% CI 0.83-0.97), DOR was 82.4 (23.2-292.6) and Q-index was 0.90. For M classification, the combined sensitivity estimate was 0.87 (95% CI 0.74-1.00), specificity was 0.98 (95% CI 0.96-1.00), DOR was 120.9 (43.0-340.0) and Q-index was 0.89. Conclusion: FDG-PET/CT showed good accuracy in N and M but not T classification for newly diagnosed NPC. FDG-PET/CT, together with Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the nasopharynx, should be part of the routine staging investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages8
JournalRadiology and Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Accuracy
  • Meta-analysis
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • PET/CT
  • Staging

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