Added value of including entire brain on body imaging with fdg pet/mri

Ana M. Franceschi, Robert Matthews, Lev Bangiyev, Nand Relan, Ammar Chaudhry, Dinko Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. FDG PET/MRI examination of the body is routinely performed from the skull base to the mid thigh. Many types of brain abnormalities potentially could be detected on PET/MRI if the head was included. The objective of this study was therefore to identify and characterize brain findings incidentally detected on PET/MRI of the body with the head included. MATERIALS AND METHODS. We retrospectively identified 269 patients with FDG PET/MRI whole-body scans that included the head. PET/MR images of the brain were reviewed by a nuclear medicine physician and neuroradiologist, first individually and then concurrently. Both PET and MRI findings were identified, including abnormal FDG uptake, standardized uptake value, lesion size, and MRI signal characteristics. For each patient, relevant medical history and prior imaging were reviewed. RESULTS. Of the 269 subjects, 173 were women and 96 were men (mean age, 57.4 years). Only the initial PET/MR image of each patient was reviewed. A total of 37 of the 269 patients (13.8%) had abnormal brain findings noted on the PET/MRI whole-body scan. Sixteen patients (5.9%) had vascular disease, nine patients (3.3%) had posttherapy changes, and two (0.7%) had benign cystic lesions in the brain. Twelve patients (4.5%) had serious nonvascular brain abnormalities, including cerebral metastasis in five patients and pituitary adenomas in two patients. Only nine subjects (3.3%) had a new neurologic or cognitive symptom suggestive of a brain abnormality. CONCLUSION. Routine body imaging with FDG PET/MRI of the area from the skull base to the mid thigh may miss important brain abnormalities when the head is not included. The additional brain abnormalities identified on whole-body imaging may provide added clinical value to the management of oncology patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-184
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain
  • FDG
  • Incidental findings
  • Oncology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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