Purpose: To determine how often positron emission tomography with [ 18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG-PET) detects extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) in patients considered to have limited-stage disease based on conventional staging procedures, and to determine the impact of PET on treatment planning for presumed limited-stage SCLC. Patients and Methods: We prospectively performed pretreatment FDG-PET on 24 patients determined by conventional staging methods to have limited-stage SCLC (defined as disease that could be encompassed within a reasonable radiotherapy portal, excluding bilateral supraclavicular disease). PET images were evaluated for evidence of extensive-stage disease. Tumor-node-metastasis system staging was also assigned for each patient, with and without PET information. Results: FDG-PET demonstrated findings consistent with extensive-stage SCLC in three of 24 patients. FDG-PET correctly upstaged two (8.3%) of 24 patients to extensive-stage disease (95% CI, 1.03% to 27.0%). PET correctly identified tumor in each SCLC mass (primary or nodal) that was suspected on computed tomography (CT) imaging, thus giving a lesion-based sensitivity relative to CT of 100%. PET identified unsuspected regional nodal metastasis in six (25%) of 24 patients, and the radiation therapy plan was significantly altered to include the PET-positive/CT-negative nodes within the high-dose region in each of these patients. Brain PET images in 23 patients disclosed no evidence of brain metastasis. Conclusion: FDG-PET has high sensitivity for SCLC and appears to be of value for initial staging and treatment planning of patients with presumed limited-stage disease.