Asymmetry of thalamic hypometabolism on FDG-PET/CT in neurofibromatosis type 1: Association with peripheral tumor burden


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Thalamic hypometabolism is a consistent finding in brain PET with F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). However, the pathophysiology of this metabolic alteration is unknown. We hypothesized that it might be secondary to disturbance of peripheral input to the thalamus by NF1-characteristic peripheral nerve sheath tumors (PNSTs). To test this hypothesis, we investigated the relationship between thalamic FDG uptake and the number, volume, and localization of PNSTs.

METHODS: This retrospective study included 22 adult NF1 patients (41% women, 36.2 ± 13.0 years) referred to whole-body FDG-PET/contrast-enhanced CT for suspected malignant transformation of PNSTs and 22 sex- and age-matched controls. Brain FDG uptake was scaled voxelwise to the individual median uptake in cerebellar gray matter. Bilateral mean and left-right asymmetry of thalamic FDG uptake were determined using a left-right symmetric anatomical thalamus mask. PNSTs were manually segmented in contrast-enhanced CT.

RESULTS: Thalamic FDG uptake was reduced in NF1 patients by 2.0 standard deviations (p < .0005) compared to controls. Left-right asymmetry was increased by 1.3 standard deviations (p = .013). Thalamic hypometabolism was higher in NF1 patients with ≥3 PNSTs than in patients with ≤2 PNSTs (2.6 vs. 1.6 standard deviations, p = .032). The impact of the occurrence of paraspinal/paravertebral PNSTs and of the mean PNST volume on thalamic FDG uptake did not reach statistical significance (p = .098 and p = .189). Left-right asymmetry of thalamic FDG uptake was not associated with left-right asymmetry of PNST burden (p = .658).

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides first evidence of left-right asymmetry of thalamic hypometabolism in NF1 and that it might be mediated by NF1-associated peripheral tumors.

Bibliografische Daten

StatusVeröffentlicht - 2024

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© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Neuroimaging published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society of Neuroimaging.

PubMed 37942683