FDG-PET/CT discriminates between patients with and without lymphomas in primary Sjögren's syndrome

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2023 Oct 3;62(10):3323-3331. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kead071.


Objectives: To assess the usefulness of [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET/CT (i) to discriminate between primary SS (pSS) patients with and without lymphomas and (ii) to evaluate systemic disease activity in pSS.

Methods: ACR-EULAR-positive pSS patients who underwent FDG-PET/CT were included. Scans were visually evaluated and quantitative analysis was performed by measuring standardized uptake values (SUV) of salivary and lacrimal glands and systemic regions. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were performed to find SUV cut-off values to discriminate between lymphoma and non-lymphoma.

Results: Of the 70 included patients, 26 were diagnosed with a pSS-associated lymphoma, mostly of the mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue type (23/26). Lymphoma patients showed higher FDG uptake in the parotid and submandibular glands, and more frequently showed presence of nodular lung lesions, compared with non-lymphoma patients. The accuracy of the maximum SUV (SUVmax) in the parotid and submandibular gland to predict lymphoma diagnosis was good, with optimal cut-off points of 3.1 and 2.9. After combining these three visual and quantitative findings (nodular lung lesions, parotid SUVmax > 3.1 and submandibular SUVmax > 2.9), sensitivity was 92% when at least one of the three features were present, and specificity was 91% in case at least two features were present. Furthermore, FDG-PET/CT was able to detect systemic manifestations in pSS patients, mostly involving lymph nodes, entheses and lungs.

Conclusions: FDG-PET/CT can assist in excluding pSS-associated lymphomas in patients without PET abnormalities, possibly leading to a decrease of invasive biopsies in suspected lymphoma patients. Furthermore, FDG-PET/CT is able to detect systemic manifestations in pSS and can guide to the best biopsy location.

Keywords: FDG-PET/CT; imaging; lymphoma; primary SS; salivary gland.

MeSH terms

  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell, Marginal Zone* / diagnostic imaging
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Sjogren's Syndrome* / complications
  • Sjogren's Syndrome* / diagnostic imaging


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Radiopharmaceuticals