Author(s): Meller J, Sahlmann CO, Scheel AK
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Abstract Fever of unknown origin (FUO) was originally defined as recurrent fever of 38.3 degrees C or higher, lasting 2-3 wk or longer, and undiagnosed after 1 wk of hospital evaluation. The last criterion has undergone modification and is now generally interpreted as no diagnosis after appropriate inpatient or outpatient evaluation. The 3 major categories that account for most FUOs are infections, malignancies, and noninfectious inflammatory diseases. The diagnostic approach in FUO includes repeated physical investigations and thorough history-taking combined with standardized laboratory tests and simple imaging procedures. Nevertheless, there is a need for more complex or invasive techniques if this strategy fails. This review describes the impact of (18)F-FDG PET in the diagnostic work-up of FUO. (18)F-FDG accumulates in malignant tissues but also at the sites of infection and inflammation and in autoimmune and granulomatous diseases by the overexpression of distinct facultative glucose transporter (GLUT) isotypes (mainly GLUT-1 and GLUT-3) and by an overproduction of glycolytic enzymes in cancer cells and inflammatory cells. The limited data of prospective studies indicate that (18)F-FDG PET has the potential to play a central role as a second-line procedure in the management of patients with FUO. In these studies, the PET scan contributed to the final diagnosis in 25\%-69\% of the patients. In the category of infectious diseases, a diagnosis of focal abdominal, thoracic, or soft-tissue infection, as well as chronic osteomyelitis, can be made with a high degree of certainty. Negative findings on (18)F-FDG PET essentially rule out orthopedic prosthetic infections. In patients with noninfectious inflammatory diseases, (18)F-FDG PET is of importance in the diagnosis of large-vessel vasculitis and seems to be useful in the visualization of other diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, sarcoidosis, and painless subacute thyroiditis. In patients with tumor fever, diseases commonly detected by (18)F-FDG PET include Hodgkin's disease and aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma but also colorectal cancer and sarcoma. (18)F-FDG PET has the potential to replace other imaging techniques in the evaluation of patients with FUO. Compared with labeled white blood cells, (18)F-FDG PET allows diagnosis of a wider spectrum of diseases. Compared with (67)Ga-citrate scanning, (18)F-FDG PET seems to be more sensitive. It is expected that PET/CT technology will further improve the diagnostic impact of (18)F-FDG PET in the context of FUO, as already shown in the oncologic context, mainly by improving the specificity of the method.
This article was published in J Nucl Med
and referenced in Journal of Gastrointestinal & Digestive System