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SUV as an adjunct in evaluating disease activity in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis – a pilot study

Lee, Elaine Yuen Phina; Wong, Chun Singa; Fung, Siu Leungc; Yan, Pui Kuenb; Ho, James Chung Manb

Nuclear Medicine Communications: June 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 6 - p 631–637
doi: 10.1097/MNM.0000000000000083
Original Articles

Objective We hypothesize that the standardized uptake value (SUV) from PET/computed tomography (CT) can act as an adjunct to forced vital capacity (FVC) in evaluating disease status in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Methods Eight consecutive male patients diagnosed with IPF were prospectively recruited to undergo full pulmonary function tests, high-resolution computed tomography of the thorax and PET/CT. The corrected mean SUV (rSUVmean) and corrected maximum SUV (rSUVmax) against the mediastinal blood pool were correlated with clinical parameters. Examinations were repeated 6 months later in six patients (2/8 patients had died) and changes were evaluated. Correlation was assessed by Spearman’s rank correlation, and statistical significance was considered when the P-value was less than 0.05.

Results The rSUVmean in IPF was negatively correlated with FVC (r=−0.6, P=0.024) and diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (r=−0.7, P=0.010). The decline in FVC was associated with an increment in rSUVmax (r=−0.9, P=0.019), but no similar observation was made with total CT score (r=−0.1, P=0.787).

Conclusion Pulmonary metabolism, rSUVmean, contributes to the functional status of IPF patients, and changes in rSUVmax may serve as an adjunct surrogate marker to FVC in evaluating the disease status in IPF patients.

Departments of aDiagnostic Radiology

bMedicine, Queen Mary Hospital, University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam

cTB and Chest Unit, Grantham Hospital, Aberdeen, Hong Kong

Correspondence to Elaine Yuen Phin Lee, BMedSci, BMBS, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, 406, Block K, Queen Mary Hospital, University of Hong Kong, 102 Pokfulam Road, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong Tel: +852 2855 3307; fax: +852 2855 1652; e-mail:

Received November 28, 2013

Accepted January 2, 2014

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins