JOURNAL ARTICLE

Incidental thyroid lesions detected by FDG-PET/CT: prevalence and risk of thyroid cancer

Ja Seong Bae, Byung Joo Chae, Woo Chan Park, Jeong Soo Kim, Sung Hoon Kim, Sang Seol Jung, Byung Joo Song
World Journal of Surgical Oncology 2009, 7: 63
19664272

BACKGROUND: Incidentally found thyroid lesions are frequently detected in patients undergoing FDG-PET/CT. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of incidentally found thyroid lesions in patients undergoing FDG-PET/CT and determine the risk for thyroid cancer.

METHODS: FDG-PET/CT was performed on 3,379 patients for evaluation of suspected or known cancer or cancer screening without any history of thyroid cancer between November 2003 and December 2005. Medical records related to the FDG-PET/CT findings including maximum SUV(SUVmax) and pattern of FDG uptake, US findings, FNA, histopathology received by operation were reviewed retrospectively.

RESULTS: Two hundred eighty five patients (8.4%) were identified to have FDG uptake on FDG-PET/CT. 99 patients with focal or diffuse FDG uptake underwent further evaluation. The cancer risk of incidentally found thyroid lesions on FDG-PET/CT was 23.2% (22/99) and the cancer risks associated with focal and diffuse FDG uptake were 30.9% and 6.4%. There was a significant difference in the SUVmax between the benign and malignant nodules (3.35 +/- 1.69 vs. 6.64 +/- 4.12; P < 0.001). There was a significant correlation between the SUVmax and the size of the cancer.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study suggest that incidentally found thyroid lesions by FDG-PET/CT, especially a focal FDG uptake and a high SUV, have a high risk of thyroid malignancy. Further diagnostic work-up is needed in these cases.

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