Background: Accurate determination of the extrahepatic extent and intrahepatic distribution of disease is very important in patients with primary and metastatic liver disease for deciding whether a patient receives potentially curable surgery or palliative treatment. Our objective was to evaluate the efficacy of delayed phase FDG-PET/CT imaging in lesion detection and to define its clinical impact compared to triple-phase contrast enhanced CT (CECT). Methods: 30 patients underwent delayed phase FDG-PET/CT imaging (90 min whole body scan followed by a delayed abdominal scan at 120 min). Maximum standard uptake values (SUVs) and SUV ratios between tumor and normal liver parenchyma (T/N) were evaluated. In addition, comparison was made to CECT obtained within 10 days of the FDG-PET/CT to evaluate for lesion concordance within individual liver segments (Couinaud designation). Results: Sites of primary malignancies included: colorectal (19), breast (3), pancreas (2), lung (2), carcinoid (2), cholangiocarcinoma (1), and hepatocellular carcinoma (1). There was a significant increase in SUV value of liver lesions between early and delayed acquisition (P < 0.001). Although there was not a significant reduction in liver background activity between the two studies, there was a strong increase in T/N ratio (P < 0.001) allowing better lesion detection by visual inspection. New lesions were identified in 5 of the 30 patients, which were not appreciated on the early scan. Delayed phase FDG-PET/CT identified one lesion which was not present on the corresponding CECT. Delayed phase FDG-PET/CT revealed extrahepatic sites of metastases not appreciated on CECT in 6 patients. Conclusion: Delayed phase FDG-PET/CT protocol improved lesion detectability in primary and metastatic liver disease, revealing new lesions in 17% of the patients. Moreover, FDG-PET/CT identified extrahepatic disease not seen on CECT in 20% of the patients.
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