Value of FDG PET in the assessment of patients with multiple myeloma

Miriam A Bredella, Lynne Steinbach, Gary Caputo, George Segall, Randall Hawkins
AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology 2005, 184 (4): 1199-204

OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to evaluate if whole-body PET with FDG is able to detect bone marrow involvement in patients with multiple myeloma and to assess its appearance and distribution pattern.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seventeen whole-body FDG PET scans were performed in 13 patients with multiple myeloma. Four patients were referred for evaluation of extent of disease pretherapy and nine patients were referred for assessment of therapy response (chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplant). FDG PET images were evaluated for distribution and uptake pattern. Standardized uptake values were obtained to quantify FDG uptake. Results of other imaging examinations (MRI, CT, radiography), laboratory data, biopsies, and the clinical course were used for verification of detected lesions.

RESULTS: FDG PET was able to detect medullary involvement of multiple myeloma. There were two false-negative results. In one patient, the radiographic skeletal survey showed subcentimeter lytic lesions within the ribs that were not detected on FDG PET and in the other patient, a lytic lesion detected on radiographs showed only mildly increased FDG uptake that was not identified prospectively. There was one false-positive FDG PET result in a patient who had undergone radiation therapy 3 weeks before PET. FDG PET was helpful in differentiating between posttherapeutic changes and residual/recurrent tumor and in assessing response to therapy. FDG PET resulted in upstaging of disease in four patients, which influenced subsequent management and prognosis. Sensitivity of FDG PET in detecting myelomatous involvement was 85% and specificity was 92%.

CONCLUSION: FDG PET is able to detect bone marrow involvement in patients with multiple myeloma. FDG PET is useful in assessing extent of disease at time of initial diagnosis, contributing to staging that is more accurate. FDG PET is also useful for evaluating therapy response.

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