Impaired lung function is associated with an increased risk for cognitive decline. F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET is a well-known neurodegenerative biomarker for dementia. We investigated the association between lung and brain function using FDG PET in patients with lung cancer.
A random sub-sample of 102 patients with lung cancer and without a self-reported history of neuropsychiatric disorders were recruited and underwent both lung function tests and FDG PET scans before treatment. Lung function was analyzed as the percentage predicted value (% pred) of forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1). FDG uptake was measured as standardized uptake values (SUVs) in the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital cortices and cognition-related regions. Regional SUV ratios (SUVRs) were calculated by dividing the SUV in each region by the whole-brain SUV and were then evaluated against lung function indices and clinical variables.
After excluding five patients with brain metastases, 97 patients were included in the final analysis (mean age, 67.7 ± 10.3 years). Mean FVC and mean FEV1 were 80.0% ± 15.4% and 77.6% ± 17.8%, respectively. Both FVC and FEV1 were positively correlated with SUVRs in all brain regions after adjusting the data for clinical variables. The degree of decrease in SUVRs related to lung function was not significantly different between cognition-related regions and other regions.
Impaired lung function was associated with decreased glucose metabolism in all regions of the brain, indicating that cognitive decline related to decreased glucose metabolism may be due to reduced perfusion.