Reversal of hypermetabolic brown adipose tissue in F-18 FDG PET imaging

Clin Nucl Med. 2006 Apr;31(4):193-6. doi: 10.1097/01.rlu.0000204199.33136.05.


Objectives: With the increasing application of F-18-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission imaging, there has been an evolving appreciation for the range of normal variants and the realization that false-positives can lead to serious consequences.

Results: One of the most common causes of a false-positive study is the uptake of FDG in areas of hypermetabolic brown adipose tissue (HBAT). Areas of involvement are often spatially closely related to important lymph node groups in the neck, axilla, and upper mediastinum, making critical differentiation difficult, even with PET-CT.

Conclusions: FDG uptake in HBAT has been noted to occur more frequently in cold months and benzodiazepines have been proposed for its prevention. The use of these drugs is, in our experience, of limited value and may complicate patient care in both inpatient and outpatient populations. In this report, we describe considerable success by completely reversing HBAT in 9 of 10 sequential patients with simple core warming maneuvers, which obviate the use of benzodiazepines.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18