Comparison of imaging with FDG PET/CT with other imaging modalities in myeloma

Richard J Breyer, Michael E Mulligan, Stacy E Smith, Bruce R Line, Ashraf Z Badros
Skeletal Radiology 2006, 35 (9): 632-40

OBJECTIVE: To determine the usefulness of FDG PET/CT scanning in the management and staging of myeloma and to assess its strengths and limitations.

DESIGN: FDG PET/CT scans and all other available imaging studies were reviewed retrospectively from 16 consecutive patients by two experienced musculoskeletal radiologists and two nuclear medicine physicians working in consensus.

PATIENTS: The 16 patients had undergone a total of 19 FDG PET/CT scans. Radiographs were available in all cases, including 13 skeletal surveys; 25 CT scans (16 chest, three abdominal, four pelvic, one spine, one neck) and 22 MR imaging studies (17 spine, three pelvic, two extremity) also were reviewed. Patients' records were examined for relevant clinical information. All focal areas of abnormal FDG uptake were correlated with the other imaging studies to determine clinical significance. FDG PET/CT scans also were reviewed to see if small lesions shown on the other imaging studies could be identified in retrospect.

RESULTS: The 12 men and four women had an average age of 58 years (range 30-69 years). All 16 patients had an established diagnosis of multiple myeloma, with average duration of disease, from time of initial diagnosis to review, of 30 months (range 6 months to 11+ years). The FDG PET/CT scans revealed a total of 104 sites (90 in bone, 14 soft tissue) that were suspicious for neoplastic activity based on a standardized uptake value (SUV) greater than 2.5. Fifty-seven of these sites (55%) were new or previously undetected. The other imaging studies (X-ray, CT, MR) and clinical information confirmed the other 47 areas but also revealed 133 other small skeletal lesions. Six of these 133 additional lesions showed mild FDG uptake on re-review of the PET/CT scans. The FDG PET/CT findings led to management changes in 9/16 patients. MR imaging revealed five cases of diffuse bone involvement (four spine, one scapula) that were not evident by FDG PET/CT.

CONCLUSION: FDG PET/CT scans are useful for the management and staging of myeloma. However, if PET/CT were the sole imaging study done, it would miss many additional small lytic skeletal lesions and could miss diffuse spine involvement.

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