Diagnostic value of [18F]FDG-PET/CT for treatment monitoring in large vessel vasculitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

K. S. M. van der Geest*, G. Treglia, A. W. J. M. Glaudemans, E. Brouwer, M. Sandovici, F. Jamar, O. Gheysens, R. H. J. A. Slart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Downloads (Pure)


PURPOSE: Monitoring disease activity in patients with large vessel vasculitis (LVV) can be challenging. [18F]FDG-PET/CT is increasingly used to evaluate treatment response in LVV. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we aimed to summarize the current evidence on the value of [18F]FDG-PET/CT for treatment monitoring in LVV.

METHODS: PubMed/MEDLINE and the Cochrane library database were searched from inception through October 21, 2020. Studies containing patients with LVV (i.e. giant cell arteritis, Takayasu arteritis and isolated aortitis) that received treatment and underwent [18F]FDG-PET/CT were included. Screening, full-text review and data extraction were performed by 2 investigators. The risk of bias was examined with the QUADAS-2 tool. Meta-analysis of proportions and diagnostic test accuracy was performed by a random-effects model and bivariate model, respectively.

RESULTS: Twenty-one studies were included in the systematic review, of which 8 studies were eligible for meta-analysis. Arterial [18F]FDG uptake decreased upon clinical remission in longitudinal studies. High heterogeneity (I2 statistic 94%) precluded meta-analysis of the proportion of patients in which the scan normalized during clinical remission. Meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies indicated that [18F]FDG-PET/CT may detect relapsing/refractory disease with a sensitivity of 77% (95%CI 57-90%) and specificity of 71% (95%CI 47-87%). Substantial heterogeneity was observed among the cross-sectional studies. Both variation in clinical aspects and imaging procedures contributed to the heterogeneity.

CONCLUSION: Treatment of LVV leads to reduction of arterial [18F]FDG uptake during clinical remission. [18F]FDG-PET/CT has moderate diagnostic accuracy for detecting active LVV. [18F]FDG-PET/CT may aid treatment monitoring in LVV, but its findings should be interpreted in the context of the clinical suspicion of disease activity. This study underlines the relevance of published procedural recommendations for the use of [18F]FDG-PET/CT in LVV.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3-May-2021


  • Large vessel vasculitis
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Takayasu arteritis
  • Aortitis
  • Positron emission tomography computed tomography
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18

Cite this