DOI: 10.1186/s13550-018-0447-8Pages: 1-8

Which is the proper reference tissue for measuring the change in FDG PET metabolic volume of cardiac sarcoidosis before and after steroid therapy?

1. Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Nuclear Medicine

2. Hokkaido University School of Medicine, First Department of Medicine

3. Hokkaido University Hospital, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine

4. Hokkaido University Hospital, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology

Correspondence to:
Osamu Manabe
Tel: 81-11-706-5152




Cardiac sarcoidosis (CS) is a rare but potentially life-threatening disease that causes conduction disturbance, systolic dysfunction, and, most notably, sudden cardiac death. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) plays important roles not only in diagnosing CS but also in evaluating the effects of anti-inflammatory therapy. A volume-based analysis of parameters measured by FDG PET, so-called cardiac metabolic volume (CMV), has emerged as a new assessment tool. CMV is measured as the volume within the boundary determined by a reference tissue such as the liver and the blood pool uptake. However, there is a possibility that oral steroid therapy could lead to variations of the liver and the blood pool uptake. Here, we attempted to evaluate the steroid effects on the liver and the blood pool uptake.

A total of 38 CS patients who underwent FDG PET/CT before and during steroid therapy were retrospectively enrolled. Volumes of interest (VOIs) were placed in the right lobe of the liver and descending aorta (DA). The maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax), SUVmean, and SUVpeak of the liver and DA were compared between time points before and during steroid therapy.


The SUVmax, SUVmean, and SUVpeak of the liver during steroid therapy significantly increased from the time point before the therapy (SUVmax 3.5 ± 0.4 vs. 3.8 ± 0.6, p = 0.014; SUVmean 2.7 ± 0.3 vs. 3.0 ± 0.5, p = 0.0065; SUVpeak 3.0 ± 0.4 vs. 3.4 ± 0.6, p = 0.006). However, the SUVmax, SUVmean, and SUVpeak in the DA did not significantly change (SUVmax 2.2 ± 0.3 vs. 2.2 ± 0.4, p = 0.46; SUVmean 1.9 ± 0.3 vs. 2.0 ± 0.4, p = 0.56; SUVpeak 2.0 ± 0.3 vs. 2.0 ± 0.3, p = 0.70).


We measured FDG uptake in the liver and blood pool before and during steroid therapy. Steroid therapy increased the liver uptake but not the blood pool uptake. Our findings suggested that the DA uptake is a more suitable threshold than liver uptake to evaluate therapeutic effects using volume-based analysis of cardiac FDG PET.

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  • Accepted: Sep 26, 2018
  • Online: Oct 5, 2018

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