18F-fluorocholine versus 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose for PET/CT imaging in patients with suspected relapsing or progressive multiple myeloma: a pilot study

Thibaut Cassou-Mounat, Sona Balogova, Valérie Nataf, Marie Calzada, Virginie Huchet, Khaldoun Kerrou, Jean-Yves Devaux, Mohamad Mohty, Jean-Noël Talbot, Laurent Garderet
European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2016, 43 (11): 1995-2004

PURPOSE: Hybrid positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) has now become available, as well as whole-body, low-dose multidetector row computed tomography (MDCT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The radioactive glucose analogue 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is the most widely used tracer but has a relatively low sensitivity in detecting multiple myeloma (MM). We compared FDG with a more recent metabolic tracer, 18F-fluorocholine (FCH), for the detection of MM lesions at time of disease relapse or progression.

METHODS: We analyzed the results of FDG and FCH imaging in 21 MM patients undergoing PET/CT for suspected relapsing or progressive MM. For each patient and each tracer, an on-site reader and a masked reader independently determined the number of intraosseous and extraosseous foci of tracer and the intensity of uptake as measured by their SUVmax and the corresponding target/non-target ratio (T/NT).

RESULTS: In the skeleton of 21 patients, no foci were found for two cases, uncountable foci were observed in four patients, including some mismatched FCH/FDG foci. In the 15 patients with countable bone foci, the on-site reader detected 72 FDG foci vs. 127 FCH foci (+76 %), whereas the masked reader detected 69 FDG foci vs. 121 FCH foci (+75 %), both differences being significant. Interobserver agreement on the total number of bone foci was very high, with a kappa coefficient of 0.81 for FDG and 0.89 for FCH. Measurement of uptake in the matched foci that took up both tracers revealed a significantly higher median SUVmax and T/NT for FCH vs. FDG. Almost all unmatched foci were FCH-positive FDG-negative (57/59 = 97 % on-site and 56/60 = 93 % on masked reading); they were more frequently observed than matched foci in the head and neck region.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that PET/CT performed for suspected relapsing or progressive MM would reveal more lesions when using FCH rather than FDG.

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