Diagnostic usefulness of 18F-FDG PET/CT in the differentiation of pulmonary artery sarcoma and pulmonary embolism

Ann Nucl Med. 2009 Sep;23(7):671-6. doi: 10.1007/s12149-009-0292-y. Epub 2009 Aug 13.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) in differentiating pulmonary artery sarcoma from pulmonary embolism.

Materials and methods: We evaluated three patients with pulmonary artery sarcoma and 10 patients with proximal pulmonary embolism (6 men and 7 women, ranging in age from 35 to 94 years). All the patients had evidence of perfusion defects in their proximal pulmonary arteries on contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) scans performed prior to PET/CT. The maximum standardized uptake value (SUV(max)) of FDG uptake in all the lesions was measured using PET/CT. The location of lesions, background uptake or thrombi in the legs were evaluated in both groups as basic characteristics.

Results: The mean SUV(max) of the pulmonary artery sarcomas (7.63 +/- 2.21, n = 3) and the pulmonary embolisms (2.31 +/- 0.41, n = 10) were significantly different (P < 0.05). The mean times between the initial contrast-enhanced CT scan and PET/CT scan were similar in both groups (P = 0.7804). The differences in the locations in lesions between the three groups (right, left and bilateral) or background uptakes were not significant.

Conclusion: FDG PET/CT could distinguish pulmonary artery sarcoma from pulmonary embolism based on the SUV(max) value.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Pulmonary Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Artery / pathology
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sarcoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18