Is there a connection between immunohistochemical markers and grading of lung cancer with apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and standardised uptake values (SUV) of hybrid 18F-FDG-PET/MRI?

J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2020 Dec;64(6):779-786. doi: 10.1111/1754-9485.13087. Epub 2020 Jul 24.


Introduction: To correlate tumour grading and prognostic immunohistochemical markers of lung cancer with simultaneously acquired standardised uptake values (SUV) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) derived from hybrid PET/MRI.

Methods: In this retrospective study, 55 consecutive patients (mean age 62.5 ± 9.2 years) with therapy-naïve, histologically proven lung cancer were included. All patients underwent whole-body PET/MRI using 18F-flourdeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) as a radiotracer. Diffusion-weighted imaging of the chest (DWI, b-values: 0, 500, 1000 s/mm2 ) was performed simultaneously with PET acquisition. Histopathological tumour grading was available in 43/55 patients. In 15/55 patients, immunohistochemical markers, that is, phospho-AKT Ser473 (pAKTS473), phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (pERK), phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (erbB2) were available.

Results: The average SUVmax, SUVmean, ADCmin and ADCmean in lung cancer primaries were 12.6 ± 5.9, 7.7 ± 4.6, 569.9 ± 96.1 s/mm2 and 825.8 ± 93.2 s/mm2 , respectively. We found a significant inverse correlation between the ADCmin and SUVmax (r = -0.58, P < 0.001) as well as between the ADCmin and SUVmean (r = -0.44, P < 0.001). Tumour grading showed a significant positive correlation with SUVmax and SUVmean (R = 0.34 and R = 0.31, both P < 0.05) and a significant inverse correlation with ADCmin and ADCmean (r = -0.30 and r = -0.40, both P < 0.05). In addition, erbB2 showed a significant inverse correlation with SUVmax and SUVmean (r = -0.50 and r = -0.49, both P < 0.05). The other immunohistochemical markers did not show any significant correlation.

Conclusion: 18F-FDG-PET/MRI showed weak to moderate correlations between SUV, ADC, tumour grading and erbB2-expression of lung cancer. Hence, 18F-FDG-PET/MRI may, to some extent, offer complementary information to the histopathology of lung cancer, for the evaluation of tumour aggressiveness and treatment response.

Keywords: magnetic resonance imaging; nuclear imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18