The role of the PET scan in the management of sarcoidosis

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2013 Sep;19(5):538-44. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0b013e328363ed0d.


Purpose of review: It is important to gain knowledge and understanding about the appropriate use of PET scan in the management of sarcoidosis patients. This means that, in view of the radiation dose and costs, defining appropriate indications for PET scanning in sarcoidosis patients is vital.

Recent findings: PET has been shown to be a very sensitive technique for the assessment of inflammatory activity in sarcoidosis by detecting and quantifying the degree of inflammatory and granulomatous reactions that occur in the lungs and elsewhere in the body.

Summary: PET is not indicated in the standard workup, but can be of great value to complement more routinely used techniques. On the basis of the current findings, PET offers added value in sarcoidosis patients with unexplained persistent disabling symptoms. PET appears especially helpful in those persistently symptomatic patients without serological signs of inflammatory activity, in patients with radiologic signs of fibrosis and in the detection of active cardiac sarcoidosis. The use of PET to assess the extent of disease can uncover a suitable location for biopsy to obtain histological evidence for the diagnosis or to explain the (mainly extrathoracic) symptoms. Furthermore, the detection of unexpected organ involvement may offer prognostic value.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Disease Management*
  • Fibrosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Fibrosis / pathology
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / therapy*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18