J Clin Neurol.  2013 Jul;9(3):176-185. 10.3988/jcn.2013.9.3.176.

Complementarity between 18F-FDG PET/CT and Ultrasonography or Angiography in Carotid Plaque Characterization

  • 1Department of Neurology, Dongguk University Ilsan Hospital, Dongguk University College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea. kdongeog@duih.org
  • 2Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Laboratory of Veterinary Dermatology and Neurology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Korea.
  • 4Laboratory of Genome to Drug Medicine, Joint Center for Biosciences, Incheon, Korea.
  • 5Department of Radiology and Experimental Diagnostic Imaging, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.
  • 6Department of Nuclear Medicine, Dongguk University Ilsan Hospital, Dongguk University College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea.
  • 7Molecular Imaging and Neurovascular Research (MINER) Laboratory, Dongguk University Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea.


To estimate clinical roles of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) versus angiography and ultrasonography in carotid plaque characterization.
We characterized two groups of patients with recently (<1 month) symptomatic (n=14; age=71.8+/-8.6 years, mean+/-SD) or chronic (n=13, age=68.9+/-9.0 years) carotid stenosis using a battery of imaging tests: diffusion magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, MR or transfemoral angiography, duplex ultrasonography (DUS), and carotid FDG-PET/computed tomography.
The degree of angiographic stenosis was greater in patients with recently symptomatic carotid plaques (67.5+/-21.5%) than in patients with chronic carotid plaques (32.4+/-26.8%, p=0.001). Despite the significant difference in the degree of stenosis, lesional maximum standardized uptake values (maxSUVs) on the carotid FDG-PET did not differ between the recently symptomatic (1.56+/-0.53) and chronic (1.56+/-0.34, p=0.65) stenosis groups. However, lesional-to-contralesional maxSUV ratios were higher in the recently symptomatic stenosis group (113+/-17%) than in the chronic stenosis group (98+/-10%, p=0.017). The grayscale median value of the lesional DUS echodensities was lower in the recently symptomatic stenosis group (28.2+/-10.0, n=9) than in the chronic stenosis group (53.9+/-14.0, n=8; p=0.001). Overall, there were no significant correlations between angiographic stenosis, DUS echodensity, and FDG-PET maxSUV. Case/subgroup analyses suggested complementarity between imaging modalities.
There were both correspondences and discrepancies between the carotid FDG-PET images and DUS or angiography data. Further studies are required to determine whether FDG-PET could improve the clinical management of carotid stenosis.


carotid plaque; FDG-PET/CT; angiography; ultrasonography; molecular imaging; atherosclerosis

MeSH Terms

Carotid Stenosis
Constriction, Pathologic
Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Molecular Imaging
Positron-Emission Tomography
Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
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