Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

PET: Imaging Biomarker for Large-Vessel Vasculitis

Arthritis Rheumatol; ePub 2017 Nov 16; Grayson, et al

18F-flurodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) provides information about vascular inflammation that is complimentary to, and unique from, clinical assessment in large-vessel vasculitis (LVV), a recent study found. Furthermore, FDG-PET scan activity during clinical remission was associated with future clinical relapse. Patients with Takayasu's arteritis (TAK) and giant cell arteritis (GCA) were studied, along with a comparator group consisting of patients with hyperlipidemia, diseases that mimic LVV, and healthy controls. Participants underwent clinical evaluation and FDG-PET imaging, and patients with LVV underwent serial imaging at 6-month intervals. 170 FDG-PET scans were performed in 115 participants (LVV=56; comparators=59). Researchers found:

  • FDG-PET differentiated patients with clinically active LVV and disease comparators with a sensitivity=85% and specificity=83%.
  • FDG-PET scans were interpreted as active vasculitis in most patients with LVV in clinical remission (41 of 71, 58%).
  • Clinical disease activity status, disease duration, body mass index, and glucocorticoid use were independently associated with PET scan activity.


Grayson PC, Alehashemi S, Bagheri AA, et al. Positron emission tomography as an imaging biomarker in a prospective, longitudinal cohort of patients with large vessel vasculitis. [Published online ahead of print November 16, 2017]. Arthritis Rheumatol. doi:10.1002/art.40379.

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