Significance of incidental intra-articular and peri-articular FDG avid foci on PET/CT

Wayne B. Cohen-Levy, Juan Pretell-Mazzini, Adam D. Singer, Ty Subhawong, Dylan N. Greif, Jean Jose

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) is a useful imaging adjunct in patients with sarcoma. Intra-articular and peri-articular 18F-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) avid lesions are often discovered incidentally. Purpose: To describe the etiology, appearance, and standardized uptake values (SUV) of incidentally detected FDG avid intra-articular and peri-articular foci in patients with sarcoma. Material and Methods: The institutional sarcoma database between November 2011 and November 2016 was retrospectively reviewed. Patients were included if a PET/CT scan was performed and an FDG avid intra-articular or peri-articular focus was found that was distinct from the primary sarcoma. Results: The majority of FDG avid foci represented benign, non-physiologic conditions such as osteoarthritis, enthesopathy, bursitis, and post-surgical changes. Six patients each had radiographic features consistent with tenosynovial giant cell tumor (TSGCT) and metastatic disease, respectively. Lower SUV, bilateral findings, and the absence of metastatic disease elsewhere were associated with benign etiologies. There was a statistically significant difference between the mean SUV measured in patients with TSGCT and those with benign, non-physiologic conditions (P < 0.001). The difference between the benign, non-physiologic cohort and the cohort with widespread metastatic disease did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.07). Conclusions: In patients with soft-tissue or osseous sarcomas, isolated FDG avid intra-articular or peri-articular foci without additional metastatic lesions likely represent benign processes. Isolated intra-articular or peri-articular foci with significantly elevated SUV measurements were favored to represent TSGCT in this series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalActa Radiologica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • PET
  • joints
  • normal variants
  • skeletal-appendicular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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