FDG-PET/CT findings in systemic mastocytosis: a French multicentre study

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2015 Dec;42(13):2013-20. doi: 10.1007/s00259-015-3117-3. Epub 2015 Jul 5.


Introduction: Mastocytosis is a clonal haematological disease characterized by uncontrolled proliferation and the activation of mast cells. The value of FDG-PET/CT (FDG-PET) in mastocytosis has yet to be determined.

Methods: We retrospectively identified patients with an established diagnosis of systemic mastocytosis (SM), according to the WHO criteria, who underwent PET using the French Reference Centre for Mastocytosis database. Semi-quantitative and visual analysis of FDG-PET was performed and compared to the clinico-biological data.

Results: Our cohort included 19 adult patients, median age 65 years [range 58-74], including three with smouldering SM (SSM), three with aggressive SM (ASM), 10 with an associated clonal haematological non-mast-cell lineage disease (SM-AHNMD), and three with mast cell sarcoma (MCS). FDG-PET was performed at the time of the SM diagnosis (15/19), to evaluate lymph node (LN) activity (3/19) or the efficacy of therapy (1/19). FDG uptake was observed in the bone marrow (BM) (9/19, 47%), LN (6/19, 32%), spleen (12/19, 63%), or liver (1/19, 5%). No significant FDG uptake was observed in the SSM and ASM patients. A pathological FDG uptake was observed in the BM of 6/10 patients with SM-AHNMD, appearing as diffuse and homogeneous, and in the LN of 5/10 patients. All 3 MCS patients showed intense and multifocal BM pathological uptake, mimicking metastasis. No correlation was found between the FDG-PET findings and serum tryptase levels, BM mast cell infiltration percentage, and CD30 and CD2 expression by mast cells.

Conclusions: FDG uptake does not appear to be a sensitive marker of mast cell activation or proliferation because no significant FDG uptake was observed in most common forms of mastocytosis (notably purely aggressive SM). However, pathological FDG uptake was observed in the SM-AHNMD and in MCS cases, suggesting a role of FDG-PET in their early identification and as a tool of therapeutic assessment in this subgroup of patients.

Keywords: FDG PET/CT; Systemic mastocytosis.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • France
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mastocytosis, Systemic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimodal Imaging*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18