FDG-PET SUV can distinguish between spinal sarcoidosis and myelopathy with canal stenosis

J Neurol. 2011 Feb;258(2):227-30. doi: 10.1007/s00415-010-5729-7. Epub 2010 Sep 5.


Spinal cord sarcoidosis is a rare manifestation of sarcoidosis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of spinal cord sarcoidosis sometimes resembles that of the non-inflammatory spinal cord lesion. (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) is an effective method to detect both systemic and central nervous system lesions in sarcoidosis. This study compared the standard uptake value (SUV) of FDG-PET between spinal cord sarcoidosis and non-inflammatory spinal cord lesions. We retrospectively reviewed the records of patients who underwent both spinal MRI and FDG-PET scans. We used SUV to evaluate the FDG-PET uptake of the lesion. The region of interest was the center of high-intensity areas on T2-weighted MR images. We included three patients with spinal cord sarcoidosis, five with myelomalacia caused by cervical spondylosis or ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament, one with spinal cord edema associated with cervical spondylosis, and one with spinal cord edema associated with dural arteriovenous fistula. The spinal cord sarcoidosis group had a significantly higher SUV (mean 4.38, range 3.30-4.93) than patients with the other diseases (mean 1.87, range 1.42-2.74). The SUV of FDG-PET thus may be able to distinguish spinal cord sarcoidosis from other non-inflammatory lesions. FDG-PET can play an important role in the diagnosis of spinal cord sarcoidosis because the gadolinium enhancement in MRI is sometimes seen in spondylotic myelopathy or vascular malformation. FDG-PET is informative for the accurate diagnosis of spinal cord sarcoidosis and may enable clinicians to start treatment at an earlier stage.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoidosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spinal Cord Compression / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Spondylosis / diagnostic imaging


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18