DOI: 10.1007/s00259-016-3551-xPages: 638-646

The intensity of 18FDG uptake does not predict tumor growth in patients with metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer

1. Gustave Roussy and Université Paris Saclay, Department of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology

2. University Paris Sud, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Gustave Roussy

3. Gustave Roussy, Department of Radiology

4. Gustave Roussy, Department of Physic

5. Department of Interventional Radiology

6. Gustave Roussy, Department of Surgery

Correspondence to:
Marie Terroir
Tel: 33 1 42 11 63 65




In patients with metastatic differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC), fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) uptake as well as age, tumor size and radioactive iodine (RAI) uptake are prognostic factors for survival. High FDG uptake is a poor prognostic factor and lesions with high FDG uptake are often considered aggressive, but the predictive value of FDG uptake for morphological progression is unknown. The principal aim of this retrospective single center study was to determine whether the intensity of FDG uptake was correlated on a per lesion analysis with tumor growth rate (TGR) expressed as the percentage of increase in tumor size during 1 year (1-year TGR).


Fifty five patients with DTC were included between July 2012 and May 2014 with the following criteria: (i) at least one distant metastasis measuring ≥ 1 cm in diameter on CT scan (ii) evaluation by FDG-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) performed at our center (iii) at least one CT or another FDG-PET/CT performed 3 to 12 months after the reference FDG-PET/CT in the absence of systemic or local treatment between the two imaging procedures.


One hundred and fifty-six metastatic lesions located in lungs (63), neck lymph nodes (28), chest lymph nodes (42), bone (11), liver (2) and other sites (12) were studied. The median size was 16 mm, median SUVmax/lesion: 8.7; median metabolic tumor volume/lesion (Metab.TV/lesion): 3.7 cm3. The median 1-year TGR was 40.68 %. SUVmax and Metab.TV/lesion were not correlated to their 1-year TGR (p = 0.38 and p = 0.74 respectively). Among single patients with multiple lesions, the lesions with the highest SUVmax/lesion or the highest Metab.TV/lesion did not disclose the higher 1-year TGR.


The intensity of FDG uptake on a per lesion analysis is not correlated to its 1-year TGR and cannot be used as a surrogate marker of tumour progression.

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  • Accepted: Oct 10, 2016
  • Online: Oct 29, 2016

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