DOI: 10.1007/s00259-018-4062-8Pages: 166-173

FDG PET/CT imaging in detecting and guiding management of invasive fungal infections: a retrospective comparison to conventional CT imaging

1. Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Department of Infectious Diseases

2. University of Melbourne

3. Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The National Centre for Infections in Cancer

4. Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, The Peter Doherty Institute for Immunity and Infection

5. The National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship

6. Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Cancer Imaging

Correspondence to:
A. P. Douglas
Tel: +61385597996




Invasive fungal infections (IFIs) are common in immunocompromised patients. While early diagnosis can reduce otherwise high morbidity and mortality, conventional CT has suboptimal sensitivity and specificity. Small studies have suggested that the use of FDG PET/CT may improve the ability to detect IFI. The objective of this study was to describe the proven and probable IFIs detected on FDG PET/CT at our centre and compare the performance with that of CT for localization of infection, dissemination and response to therapy.


FDG PET/CT reports for adults investigated at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre were searched using keywords suggestive of fungal infection. Chart review was performed to describe the risk factors, type and location of IFIs, indication for FDG PET/CT, and comparison with CT for the detection of infection, and its dissemination and response to treatment.


Between 2007 and 2017, 45 patients had 48 proven/probable IFIs diagnosed prior to or following FDG PET/CT. Overall 96% had a known malignancy with 78% being haematological. FDG PET/CT located clinically occult infection or dissemination to another organ in 40% and 38% of IFI patients, respectively. Of 40 patients who had both FDG PET/CT and CT, sites of IFI dissemination were detected in 35% and 5%, respectively (p < 0.001). Of 18 patents who had both FDG PET/CT and CT follow-up imaging, there were discordant findings between the two imaging modalities in 11 (61%), in whom normalization of FDG avidity of a lesion suggested resolution of active infection despite a residual lesion on CT.


FDG PET/CT was able to localize clinically occult infection and dissemination and was particularly helpful in demonstrating response to antifungal therapy.

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  • Accepted: May 27, 2018
  • Online: Jun 7, 2018

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