DOI: 10.1007/s00259-016-3564-5Pages: 421-431

The clinical utility of FDG PET/CT among solid organ transplant recipients suspected of malignancy or infection

1. Rigshospitalet, Department of Clinical Physiology, Nuclear Medicine & PET

2. Rigshospitalet, Centre for Health and Infectious Disease Research (CHIP), Department of Infectious Diseases, Section 2100

3. Rigshospitalet, Department of Haematology

4. Rigshospitalet, Department of Cardiology

5. Rigshospitalet, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology

6. Rigshospitalet, Department of Nephrology

Correspondence to:
Neval E. Wareham
Tel: +45 35 45 57 97




Solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients are at high risk of developing infections and malignancies. 18F-FDG PET/CT may enable timely detection of these diseases and help to ensure early intervention. We aimed to describe the clinical utility of FDG PET/CT in consecutive, diagnostic unresolved SOT recipients transplanted from January 2004 to May 2015.


Recipients with a post-transplant FDG PET/CT performed as part of diagnostic work-up were included. Detailed chart reviews were done to extract relevant clinical information and determine the final diagnosis related to the FDG PET/CT. Based on á priori defined criteria and the final diagnosis, results from each scan were classified as true or false, and diagnostic values determined.


Among the 1,814 recipients in the cohort, 145 had an FDG PET/CT performed; 122 under the indication of diagnostically unresolved symptoms with a suspicion of malignancy or infection. The remaining (N = 23) had an FDG PET/CT to follow-up on a known disease or to stage a known malignancy. The 122 recipients underwent a total of 133 FDG PET/CT scans performed for a suspected malignancy (66 %) or an infection (34 %). Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of the FDG PET/CT in diagnosing these conditions were 97, 84, 87, and 96 %, respectively.


FDG PET/CT is an accurate diagnostic tool for the work-up of diagnostic unresolved SOT recipients suspected of malignancy or infection. The high sensitivity and NPV underlines the potential usefulness of PET/CT for excluding malignancy or focal infections in this often complex clinical situation.

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  • Accepted: Oct 28, 2016
  • Online: Nov 12, 2016

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