Diagnostic value of [18F]FDG-PET/CT in polymyalgia rheumatica: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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    Purpose Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) can be difficult to diagnose. Whole-body [18F]FDG-PET/CT allows for a comprehensive evaluation of all relevant articular and extra-articular structures affected by PMR. We aimed to summarize current evidence on the diagnostic value of [18F]FDG-PET/CT for a diagnosis of PMR. Methods PubMed/MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library database were searched from inception through May 31, 2020. Studies containing patients with PMR who underwent [18F]FDG-PET/CT were included. Screening and full-text review were performed by 3 investigators and data extraction by 2 investigators. Risk of bias was examined with the QUADAS-2 tool. Diagnostic test meta-analysis was performed with a bivariate model. Results Twenty studies were included in the systematic review, of which 9 studies (n = 636 patients) were eligible for meta-analysis. [18F]FDG positivity at the following sites was associated with a diagnosis of PMR: interspinous bursae (positive likelihood ratio (LR+) 4.00; 95% CI 1.84-8.71), hips (LR+ 2.91; 95% CI 2.09-4.05), ischial tuberosities (LR+ 2.86; 95% CI 1.91-4.28), shoulders (LR+ 2.57; 95% CI 1.24-5.32) and sternoclavicular joints (LR+ 2.31; 95% CI 1.33-4.02). Negative likelihood ratios (LR-) for these sites, as well as the greater trochanters, were all less than 0.50. Composite [18F]FDG-PET/CT scores, as reported in 3 studies, provided a pooled LR+ of 3.91 (95% CI 2.42-6.32) and LR- of 0.19 (95% CI 0.10-0.36). Moderate to high heterogeneity was observed across the studies, mainly due to differences in patient selection, scanning procedures and/or interpretation criteria. Conclusion Significant [18F]FDG uptake at a combination of anatomic sites is informative for a diagnosis of PMR. [18F]FDG-PET/CT might be an important diagnostic tool in patients with suspected PMR. This study also highlights the need for adherence to published procedural recommendations and standardized interpretation criteria for the use of [18F]FDG-PET/CT in PMR.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbers00259-020-05162-6
    Number of pages14
    JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
    Publication statusPublished - 28-Dec-2020


    • Polymyalgia rheumatica
    • Positron emission tomography
    • computed tomography
    • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
    • Meta-analysis
    • Review
    • PET-CT

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