Axillary lymph node visualization on F-18 FDG PET body scans in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Clin Nucl Med. 2007 Jul;32(7):524-6. doi: 10.1097/RLU.0b013e318065ba51.


Purpose: We report benign axillary tracer uptake on F-18 FDG PET scans in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Patients and methods: Axillary tracer uptake was observed in 9 patients who were undergoing PET for staging or restaging of malignancy. The uptake was not in a pattern that would be expected for the patients' known malignancies. Additional clinical information was obtained and quantitation of tracer uptake in the upper extremities and axillae was performed.

Results: All 9 patients were found to have rheumatoid arthritis. Increased axillary tracer uptake was bilateral in 7 patients and unilateral in 2 patients. In 8 of the patients the wrists were included in the field of view and showed elevated FDG uptake. On follow-up there was no evidence of malignancy in any of the axillary foci.

Conclusion: Increased axillary tracer uptake on F-18 FDG PET scans can be seen in conjunction with increased uptake in the wrists in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and is not necessarily an indication of malignancy.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging*
  • Artifacts*
  • Axilla / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymphatic Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Whole Body Imaging / methods*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18