Enhanced PET/CT May Help Detect Inflammatory Bowel Disease

May 2, 2013
Diagnostic Imaging Staff

Use of 18F-FDG PET/CT may help detect advanced disease in patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

Enhanced PET/CT may help physicians identify lesions along the complete intestinal wall in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), say researchers in a study published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

To assess the ability of PET/CT to detect signs of IBD, researchers from the University of Münster in Germany induced dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) colitis in mice. They then assessed the 18F-FDG uptake in multiple sections of the colon. The researchers compared the findings with control mice and found the colitic mice showed a clear 18F-FDG uptake in the medial and distal colon. There was also significant correlation between the PET/CT and histologic evaluations. Extraintestinal alterations, such as bone marrow activation, were also noted in the colitic mice.

Following this study, the researchers looked at 25 patients who had Crohn’s disease to see if the findings would be similar. The 18F-FDG scans of the patients were retrospectively analyzed and the findings were correlated to endoscopic procedures performed before or after CT without any interfering treatments.

The researchers noted that among the human patients, 18F-FDG uptake was found in 87 percent of deep mucosal ulcerations, whereas mild endoscopic lesions were detected in only approximately 50 percent of the patients.

“In Crohn’s disease patients, 18F-FDG PET/CT seems to accurately detect advanced inflammatory changes and also unmask subepithelial disease activity that might be missed by colonoscopy,” lead author Dominik Bettenworth, MD, said in a release. “Therefore, PET/CT might serve as an additional tool for evaluating disease activity in IBD patients, e.g., in defining complete remission.”