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World J Nucl Med. 2019 Jul-Sep;18(3):273-282. doi: 10.4103/wjnm.WJNM_46_18.

Clinical significance of thyroid incidentalomas detected on fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography scan (PETomas): An Indian experience.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, Command Hospital, C/O Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Department of Medicine, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Department of Nuclear Medicine, INHS Aswini, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.


Thyroid incidentalomas (TIs) are being frequently detected on positron emission tomography (PET) scan. The risk of malignancy in these focal hot spots is substantially high as compared to incidentalomas detected on ultrasonography (USG)/magnetic resonance imaging/computed tomography (CT). Majority of the studies on the prevalence of TIs in PET and the risk of malignancy in them are retrospective and have had varied results. Very few prospective studies are available and very few Indian studies have been done on the subject. Hence, this study was undertaken to evaluate the clinical significance of TIs detected on fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET scan. The study included all patients undergoing FDG-PET scan for nonthyroid illness from October 2015 to October 2016. Twenty-three consecutive patients detected to have focal TI (FTI) were prospectively evaluated with detailed history and clinical examination, serum thyroid-stimulating hormone, total T4 and total T3 levels, USG neck, fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC), and surgery when indicated. The prevalence of FTI was 2.26%. Out of the 23 FTI cases, 19 patients agreed to undergo further evaluation and malignancy was detected in 5 patients (all papillary carcinomas) making a risk of malignancy of 26.3%. There was no significant correlation between CT attenuation characteristics and size of benign and malignant PETomas or between the maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) of benign and malignant PETomas. Hence, the risk of malignancy in thyroid PETomas is substantially high and warrants USG-guided FNAC and further work-up. Their SUVmaxvalues, size, and CT attenuation characteristics do not contribute in differentiating benign from malignant lesions.


Fluorodeoxyglucose; PEToma; thyroid incidentaloma

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