DOI: 10.1007/s00259-018-3995-2Pages: 1-10

Extracardiac 18F-florbetapir imaging in patients with systemic amyloidosis: more than hearts and minds

1. Royal Free Hospital, Department of Nuclear Medicine

2. University College London (Royal Free Campus), National Amyloidosis Centre

3. St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, Department of Nuclear Medicine

Correspondence to:
Ashutosh D. Wechalekar
Tel: +44 207 433 2733




18F-Florbetapir has been reported to show cardiac uptake in patients with systemic light-chain amyloidosis (AL). This study systematically assessed uptake of 18F-florbetapir in patients with proven systemic amyloidosis at sites outside the heart.


Seventeen patients with proven cardiac amyloidosis underwent 18F-florbetapir PET/CT imaging, 15 with AL and 2 with transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR). Three patients had repeat scans. All patients had protocolized assessment at the UK National Amyloidosis Centre including imaging with 123I-serum amyloid P component (SAP). 18F-Florbetapir images were assessed for areas of increased tracer accumulation and time–uptake curves in terms of standardized uptake values (SUVmean) were produced.


All 17 patients showed 18F-florbetapir uptake at one or more extracardiac sites. Uptake was seen in the spleen in 6 patients (35%; 6 of 9, 67%, with splenic involvement on 123I-SAP scintigraphy), in the fat in 11 (65%), in the tongue in 8 (47%), in the parotids in 8 (47%), in the masticatory muscles in 7 (41%), in the lungs in 3 (18%), and in the kidney in 2 (12%) on the late half-body images. The 18F-florbetapir spleen retention index (SRI) was calculated. SRI >0.045 had 100% sensitivity/sensitivity (in relation to 123I-SAP splenic uptake, the current standard) in detecting splenic amyloid on dynamic imaging and a sensitivity of 66.7% and a specificity of 100% on the late half-body images. Intense lung uptake was seen in three patients, one of whom had lung interstitial infiltration suggestive of amyloid deposition on previous high-resolution CT. Repeat imaging showed a stable appearance in all three patients suggesting no early impact of treatment response.


18F-Florbetapir PET/CT is a promising tool for the detection of extracardiac sites of amyloid deposition. The combination of uptake in the heart and uptake in the spleen on 18F-florbetapir PET/CT, a hallmark of AL, suggests that this tracer holds promise as a screening tool for AL.

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  • Accepted: Mar 16, 2018
  • Online: Apr 12, 2018

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