Diagnostic accuracy of SPECT, PET, and MRS for primary central nervous system lymphoma in HIV patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the roles of SPECT, PET, and MRS in distinguishing primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) from other focal brain lesions (FBLs) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients.


PubMed, Scopus, and Medline were systematically searched for eligible studies from 1980 to 2016. Two authors extracted characteristics of patients and their lesions using predefined criteria.


Eighteen studies on SPECT containing 667 patients, 6 studies on PET containing 108 patients, and 3 studies on MRS containing 96 patients were included. SPECT had a pooled sensitivity of 0.92 (95% CI: 0.85–0.96) and specificity of 0.84 (95% CI: 0.74–0.90) in differentiating PCNSL from other FBLs. For the 6 studies that used only pathology and/or serology as the gold standard, the pooled sensitivity was 0.85 (95% CI: 0.72–0.97) and the pooled specificity was 0.73 (95% CI: 0.54–0.92).


SPECT has good diagnostic accuracy for discriminating PCNSL from other FBL-causing disorders in HIV patients. However, the actual sensitivity and specificity of SPECT may be lower than expected if only pathology and/or serology was used as the gold standard. PET may be superior but has less supporting clinical data and is more expensive.

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