Purpose: Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) show increased PET signal at sites of morphological abnormality on high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT). The purpose of this investigation was to investigate the PET signal at sites of normal-appearing lung on HRCT in IPF.
Methods: Consecutive IPF patients (22 men, 3 women) were prospectively recruited. The patients underwent (18)F-FDG PET/HRCT. The pulmonary imaging findings in the IPF patients were compared to the findings in a control population. Pulmonary uptake of (18)F-FDG (mean SUV) was quantified at sites of morphologically normal parenchyma on HRCT. SUVs were also corrected for tissue fraction (TF). The mean SUV in IPF patients was compared with that in 25 controls (patients with lymphoma in remission or suspected paraneoplastic syndrome with normal PET/CT appearances).
Results: The pulmonary SUV (mean ± SD) uncorrected for TF in the controls was 0.48 ± 0.14 and 0.78 ± 0.24 taken from normal lung regions in IPF patients (p < 0.001). The TF-corrected mean SUV in the controls was 2.24 ± 0.29 and 3.24 ± 0.84 in IPF patients (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: IPF patients have increased pulmonary uptake of (18)F-FDG on PET in areas of lung with a normal morphological appearance on HRCT. This may have implications for determining disease mechanisms and treatment monitoring.