Metabolically Active Brown Fat Mimicking Pericardial Metastasis on PET/CT: The Discriminating Role of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Can J Cardiol. 2016 Aug;32(8):1039.e15-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2015.10.009. Epub 2015 Oct 20.


Metabolically active mediastinal brown adipose tissue may be mistakenly diagnosed as a malignancy on 18F-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG)/positron emission tomography (PET). We report the case of a patient with locally recurrent breast carcinoma in which staging PET/CT revealed a suspicious pericardial lesion for which the patient was referred to our centre. The novelty of this case resides in the fact that by tissue characterization, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging allowed the determination that the lesion corresponded to brown fat, a reassuring finding with important impact on management, because the presence of pericardial metastasis would have disqualified this patient for curative resection of her cancer recurrence.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Heart Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Heart Neoplasms / secondary
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine*
  • Pericardium / pathology
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography*