Low dose radiation 18F–fluoride PET/CT in the assessment of Unilateral Condylar Hyperplasia of the mandible: preliminary results of a single centre experience

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Background: Unilateral condylar hyperplasia (UCH) of the mandible, or Hypercondylia, is a pathological condition that determines an abnormal growth of the affected condyle. Bone SPECT with Tc99m-diphosphonates is a successful tool in the diagnosis of UCH. EANM guidelines also suggest the use of 18F–NaF PET/CT, though it leads to a higher radiation exposure. Aim: As UCH patients are young, we aimed to develop a low dose 18F–Fluoride PET/CT protocol and compare it to a standard injected activity scan, to assess if the image quality remains unchanged. Materials and methods: We prospectively enrolled 20 patients (7 males, 13 females, mean age 23.2) with UCH, who underwent 18F–NaF PET/CT to assess the hypercondylia. We administered a low activity of 18F–NaF (2.9 MBq/kg) in 15 patients and a standard activity (5.3 MBq/kg) in 5 patients. Activity range was chosen according to 2015 EANM guidelines. To determine if the scans with low radiotracer activity were “diagnostic” such as those with standard activity, two expert nuclear medicine physicians, unaware of the administered activity, independently reviewed the scans and expressed a final qualitative judgment in terms of “diagnostic”/“non-diagnostic” scan. Furthermore, we compared the effective dose of a low injected activity PET/CT to the standard one and to a Bone SPECT performed with standard injected activity of Tc99m-diphosphonates. Results: Reviewers classified 19 of 20 scans as “diagnostic”. Only one of them was classified as “non diagnostic” due to condylar arthrosis that disturbed the correct evaluation of condylar radiotracer uptake. The effective dose of a 18F–Fluoride PET/CT, in patient of 70 kg, is about 3.5 mSv in scans performed with 2.9 MBq/kg [0.017 mSv/MBq × 2.9 MBq/kg × 70 kg] and about 6.3 mSv in ones performed with 5.3 MBq/kg [0.017 mSv/MBq × 5.3 MBq/kg × 70 kg]. The effective dose of 99mTc-MDP bone SPECT is about 3.2 mSv [0.0043 mSv/MBq × 740 MBq of 99mTc-MDP]. Discussion: 18F–NaF PET/CT performed with a low radiotracer activity allows a good assessment of UCH similar to that performed with an ordinary activity. The effective radiation dose of a low-injected activity PET/CT is significantly lower than an ordinary-injected activity and is not significantly higher than the most used Bone SPECT. Moreover PET/CT is performed in 1.5 h while Bone SPECT requires at least 3.5 h. Conclusions: The 18F–Fluoride PET/CT procedure could be performed with 2.9 MBq/Kg (minimum 185 MBq, recommended at least 200 MBq) of 18F–NaF to minimize the effective radiation dose received, maintaining the quality of the scan. Further studies including a larger number of patients and clinical follow-up are needed to confirm our preliminary findings.




Lima, G. M., Diodato, S., Costabile, E., Cicoria, G., Civollani, S., Marchetti, C., … Fanti, S. (2018). Low dose radiation 18F–fluoride PET/CT in the assessment of Unilateral Condylar Hyperplasia of the mandible: preliminary results of a single centre experience. European Journal of Hybrid Imaging, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41824-018-0025-3

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