DOI: 10.1186/s13550-017-0254-7Pages: 1-9

The extent to which standardized uptake values reflect FDG phosphorylation in the liver and spleen as functions of time after injection of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose

1. Brighton Sussex Medical School, Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre

2. Biomedical Research Foundation Academy of Athens, Center for Experimental Surgery, Clinical and Translational Research

3. Royal Sussex County Hospital, Department of Nuclear Medicine

Correspondence to:
A. Michael Peters
Tel: 00441273523360




In FDG PET/CT, standardized uptake value (SUV) is used to measure metabolic activity but detects un-phosphorylated FDG as well as phosphorylated FDG (FDG6P). Our aim was to determine the proportions of intrahepatic and intrasplenic FDG that are phosphorylated after FDG injection and compare them with SUVs.


Sixty patients undergoing whole-body PET/CT 60 min post-injection of FDG first had dynamic PET imaging for 30 min with measurement of hepatic and splenic FDG clearances using Patlak-Rutland analysis. The gradient of the Patlak-Rutland plot, which is proportional to clearance (Ki), was normalized to the intercept, which is proportional to FDG distribution volume (V(0)) with the same proportionality constant. Using measured values of Ki/V(0), FDG6P/FDG ratios as functions of time in the two organs were measured for assumed FDG blood disappearance half-times of 40, 50 and 60 min. Hepatic and splenic SUVs were measured from whole-body PET/CT.


The mean (SD) Ki/V(0) was 0.0036 (0.0021) and 0.0060 (0.0041) ml/min/ml for the liver and spleen, respectively, but the hepatic SUV was 1.36-fold higher than the splenic SUV. This discrepancy was explained by the hepatic V(0) being 1.6-fold higher than the splenic V(0). The percentages of FDG phosphorylated 60 min post-injection were 27, 25 and 23% for the liver and 39, 36 and 34% for the spleen, for blood clearance half-times of 40, 50 and 60 min, respectively. SUV indices correlated poorly with Ki/V(0) for both organs.


SUV is largely determined by un-phosphorylated FDG in dynamic exchange with blood FDG, explaining the poor correlations between SUV indices and Ki/V(0).

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  • Accepted: Jan 4, 2017
  • Online: Feb 7, 2017

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