Clinical values of FDG PET in polymyositis and dermatomyositis syndromes: Imaging of skeletal muscle inflammation

Maki Tateyama, Kazuo Fujihara, Tatsuro Misu, Akira Arai, Tomohiro Kaneta, Masashi Aoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: [18F] Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET), a standard tool for evaluating malignancies, can also detect inflammatory lesions. However, its usefulness in evaluating muscle lesions in polymyositis and dermatomyositis syndromes (PM/DM) has not been established. Methods: 33 patients with PM/DM who had undergone FDG PET were retrospectively analysed. FDG uptake was visually evaluated (visually identified FDG uptake, vFDG) in 16 regions of the body using mediastinum blood vessels as a positivity criterion. We also calculated the maximum standardised uptake value (SUVmax) in all four limbs of the patients with PM/DM as well as in 22 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with similar disabilities. In 24 patients with PM/DM, MRI and FDG PET findings were compared. Results: vFDG was observed in multiple muscle lesions with varying distributions in two-thirds of the patients with PM/DM, with most lesions being symmetrical. The number of vFDG-positive regions strongly correlated with the mean SUVmax in all four limbs (p<0.0001). Histological grades of biopsied muscles correlated with both the mean SUVmax and number of vFDG-positive regions. Serum creatine kinase levels were higher in patients with more than two vFDG-positive regions than in those with two or less regions ( p<0.05). While the inflamed muscles showed diffused, patchy or marginal signal abnormalities on MRI, FDG uptake was most prominent inside the muscles. Compared with ALS, the mean SUVmax was significantly higher in the patients with PM/DM (p<0.0001) and showed a striking correlation in the bilateral muscles, reflecting symmetrical muscle involvement in PM/DM. Conclusions: The visual assessment of FDG uptake as well as calculation of SUV enabled us to comprehensively evaluate skeletal muscle. This method can improve clinical practices and provide insights into pathomechanisms of PM/DM.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere006763
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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