Assessment of factors influencing FDG uptake in non-small cell lung cancer on PET/CT by investigating histological differences in expression of glucose transporters 1 and 3 and tumour size

Lung Cancer. 2011 May;72(2):191-8. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2010.08.017. Epub 2010 Sep 29.


Purpose: The objective of this study was to evaluate the major factors influencing on FDG uptake in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by investigating histological difference in the expression of glucose transporters 1 and 3 (Glut-1 and Glut-3) and tumour size.

Methods: This study enrolled 32 patients including 9 with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and 23 with adenocarcinoma (AC). The AC cases comprised 16 AC with mixed subtypes (AC-mixed) and 7 localized AC in situ (localized bronchioloalveolar carcinoma). Partial volume effect corrected maximum standardized uptake values (cSUVmax) and tumour size were obtained using FDG PET/CT. Glut-1 and Glut-3 expression were evaluated using five-point grading scales.

Results: Overexpression of Gluts was observed at high rates (88% for Glut-1 and 97% for Glut-3). They were mutually correlated. cSUVmax showed better correlation with size than with Gluts overexpression. AC and SCC showed a high positive expression rate for both Glut-1 and Glut-3, although the degree of overexpression was significantly higher in SCC than AC. In addition, localized AC in situ revealed a considerably higher positive expression rate and similar degrees of overexpression for both Glut-1 and Glut-3 compared with AC-mixed. By contrast, localized AC in situ alone was significantly smaller in both cSUVmax and size than either SCC or AC-mixed. No significant difference was found in cSUVmax or size between SCC and AC-mixed.

Conclusions: The FDG uptake of NSCLC might be dependent on size rather than on overexpression of Glut-1 or Glut-3. Low FDG uptake in localized AC in situ might result from its small size rather than Glut overexpression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / physiopathology
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 2 / genetics
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 2 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Glucose Transporter Type 3 / genetics
  • Glucose Transporter Type 3 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Tumor Burden


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 2
  • Glucose Transporter Type 3
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18