Background: Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) carry a dismal prognosis and require early detection and complete resection. However, MPNSTs are prone to sampling errors and biopsies or resections are cumbersome and possibly damaging in benign peripheral nerve sheath tumor (BPNST). This study aimed to systematically review and quantify the diagnostic accuracy of noninvasive tests for distinguishing MPNST from BPNST. Methods: Studies on accuracy of MRI, FDG-PET (fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography), and liquid biopsies were identified in PubMed and Embase from 2000 to 2019. Pooled accuracies were calculated using Bayesian bivariate meta-analyses. Individual level-patient data were analyzed for ideal maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) threshold on FDG-PET. Results: Forty-three studies were selected for qualitative synthesis including data on 1875 patients and 2939 lesions. Thirty-five studies were included for meta-analyses. For MRI, the absence of target sign showed highest sensitivity (0.99, 95% CI: 0.94-1.00); ill-defined margins (0.94, 95% CI: 0.88-0.98); and perilesional edema (0.95, 95% CI: 0.83-1.00) showed highest specificity. For FDG-PET, SUVmax and tumor-to-liver ratio show similar accuracy; sensitivity 0.94, 95% CI: 0.91-0.97 and 0.93, 95% CI: 0.87-0.97, respectively, specificity 0.81, 95% CI: 0.76-0.87 and 0.79, 95% CI: 0.70-0.86, respectively. SUVmax ≥3.5 yielded the best accuracy with a sensitivity of 0.99 (95% CI: 0.93-1.00) and specificity of 0.75 (95% CI: 0.56-0.90). Conclusions: Biopsies may be omitted in the presence of a target sign and the absence of ill-defined margins or perilesional edema. Because of diverse radiological characteristics of MPNST, biopsies may still commonly be required. In neurofibromatosis type 1, FDG-PET scans may further reduce biopsies. Ideal SUVmax threshold is ≥3.5.
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© 2020 The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Neuro-Oncology.