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Enhanced pulmonary uptake on 18F-FES-PET/CT scans after irradiation of the thoracic area: : related to fibrosis?

Venema, C. M., de Vries, E. F. J., van der Veen, S. J., Dorrius, M. D., van Kruchten, M., Schröder, C. P., Hospers, G. A. P. & Glaudemans, A. W. J. M., 23-Aug-2019, In : EJNMMI Research. 9, 1, 7 p., 82.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

RATIONALE: The use of 16α-[18F]fluoro-17β-estradiol (FES) positron emission tomography (PET) in clinical dilemmas and for therapy decision-making in lesions expressing estrogen receptors is growing. However, on a considerable number of FES PET scans, previously performed in a research and clinical setting in our institution, FES uptake was noticed in the lungs without an oncologic substrate. We hypothesized that this uptake was related to pulmonary fibrosis as a result of radiation therapy. This descriptive study therefore aimed to investigate whether radiation therapy in the thoracic area is possibly related to enhanced pulmonary, non-tumor FES uptake.

METHODS: All FES-PET/CT scans performed in our institution from 2008 to 2017 were retrospectively analyzed. Scans from patients who had received irradiation in the thoracic area prior to the scan were compared to scans of patients who had never received irradiation in the thoracic area. The primary outcome was the presence of enhanced non-tumor FES uptake in the lungs, defined as visually increased FES uptake in the absence of an oncologic substrate on the concordant (contrast-enhanced) CT scan. All CT scans were evaluated for the presence of fibrosis or oncologic substrates.

RESULTS: A total of 108 scans were analyzed: 70 scans of patients with previous irradiation in the thoracic area and 38 of patients without. Enhanced non-tumor FES uptake in the lungs was observed in 39/70 irradiated patients (56%), versus in 9/38 (24%) of non-irradiated patients. Fibrosis was present in 37 of the 48 patients with enhanced non-tumor FES uptake (77%), versus in 15 out of 60 (25%) patients without enhanced non-tumor uptake, irrespective of radiotherapy (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: After irradiation of the thorax, enhanced non-tumor uptake on FES-PET can be observed in the radiation field in a significant proportion of patients. This seems to be related to fibrosis. When observing enhanced FES uptake in the lungs, this should not be interpreted as metastases. Information on recent radiation therapy or history of pulmonary fibrosis should therefore be taken into consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number82
Number of pages7
JournalEJNMMI Research
Volume9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23-Aug-2019

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