Bowel hot spots at PET-CT

Radiographics. 2007 Jan-Feb;27(1):145-59. doi: 10.1148/rg.271065080.


Positron emission tomography (PET) with 2-[fluorine-18]fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose (FDG) has been shown to be sensitive in the detection of many bowel malignancies, but its specificity is lower because of various physiologic and pathologic patterns of bowel FDG uptake. PET-computed tomography (CT) can be useful in localizing and characterizing foci of increased FDG uptake within the bowel. As the use of PET-CT in the staging and monitoring of oncologic disease continues to expand, familiarity with these patterns of bowel FDG uptake is essential and can help determine the need for and the relative urgency of further testing. Although a variety of imaging protocols are used for PET-CT, the use of negative oral contrast agent allows improved bowel distention while eliminating potential artifacts caused by high-density oral contrast agents. In addition, correlation with the CT portion of the combined PET-CT examination can sometimes help identify the cause of focal or segmental bowel uptake. The radiologist should be aware of potential pitfalls in the evaluation of FDG-avid foci within the abdomen, including bowel motility and low-attenuation lesions mimicking bowel. Nevertheless, even though the precise role of combined PET-CT for bowel assessment has yet to be determined, the application of sound basic principles of image interpretation will help ensure the accurate interpretation of bowel findings seen with this combined modality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18* / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Intestinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Intestinal Diseases / metabolism
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics
  • Subtraction Technique*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18