Relationship between clinicopathologic factors and FDG avidity in radioiodine-negative recurrent or metastatic differentiated thyroid carcinoma

Le Ngoc Ha, Amir Iravani, Nguyen Thi Nhung, Ngo Thi Minh Hanh, Febby Hutomo, Mai Hong Son

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4 Scopus citations


Background: In this study, we investigated the relationship between clinicopathologic factors, BRAFV600E mutation status and [18F] F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (FDG) avidity in patients with radioiodine (RAI)-negative recurrent or metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). Methods: From 2015 to 2018 all patients with suspected recurrent or metastatic radioiodine-negative DTC patients who underwent FDG positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) were retrospectively reviewed. Suspected lesions on FDG PET/CT were biopsied and underwent BRAFV600E mutation testing by immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR. Tumor size, recurrent versus metastatic disease, histopathologic features including classical type versus aggressive subtypes (poorly differentiated, tall cell, columnar cell, hobnail variants) and BRAFV600E mutation status were correlated with the SUVmax of highest hypermetabolic lesions on FDG PET/CT by the univariate analysis using logistic regression. Results: Sixty-three consecutive patients, 55 (87.3%) female, with median age of 48 (range 17–81) were included. The majority of patients had BRAFV600E mutation and classical subtype, 55/63 (87.3%) and 45/63(71.4%), respectively. Thyroglobulin at the time of suspected recurrence was 262.7 ng/ml (range 16.3–1000) and patients received a median 3 prior RAI treatments. Fifty-four patients (85.7%) had local recurrence. The majority of patients 58/63 (92.1%) had FDG-avid disease on PET/CT. On univariate analysis, tumor size aggressive histopathologic types and distant metastasis are the significant factors for predicting FDG uptake, p = 0.04, p = 0.001 and p = 0.004 respectively. Although FDG uptake of BRAFV600E bearing recurrent/metastatic RAIR DTC lesions was higher than those without the mutation, the difference did not reach statistical significance, SUVmax of 7.11 versus 4.91, respectively, p = 0.2. Conclusion: The majority of recurrent or metastatic RAI-negative DTC have BRAFV600E mutation and detectable disease on FDG PET/CT. FDG avidity of the recurrent or metastatic RAI-negative DTC is independently associated with the aggressive histopathologic features.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalCancer Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • BRAF mutation
  • Differentiated thyroid carcinoma
  • F-fluorodeoxyglucose
  • Histopathologic type
  • Radioiodine-refractory


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